Bowling: New hall of famer Faye Thomas helped by her bowling family
By Anthony Nasella Post-Tribune correspondent October 29, 2013 9:32PM
Faye Thomas of Gary will be inducted into the LakeShore Bowling Association Hall of Fame on Nov. 10. | Anthony Nasella/For the Post-Tribune
Updated: December 2, 2013 11:20AM
When Faye Thomas captured back-to-back Senior Bowler of the Year honors in the Lake Suburban Women’s Bowling Association between 2008 and 2010, the East Chicago native was at the top of her game.
The following year, Thomas’ game and life were challenged when she was diagnosed with cancer. It required a combination chemotherapy and tremendous support from her bowling family to nurse her back to health off and on the lanes.
With her cancer now in remission, the current Gary resident recently received some additional, and unexpected, good news that was she voted into the LakeShore Bowling Association Hall of Fame. She’ll be formally inducted at the association’s banquet Nov. 10.
“It was an emotional day being voted in,” she said. “It was very humbling because so many people were there at the meeting. It was a wonderful surprise.”
In those pivotal seasons for Thomas, she won the Class D women’s state tournament two years a row. In 2008, her 774 series at Ray’s Lanes was highest series for a senior women’s bowler at the center. She was named Post-Tribune Senior Bowler of the Year after that season.
Looking back, Thomas, who started bowling in her 40s, said she received a lot of advice that helped her excel. From there she let her game and Storm Reign ball do the rest.
“Mark Milsap, Louie Kwell and Don Draia (all fellow LakeShore Association hall of famers) would all give me pointers and tell me what to do,” she said. “I took their advice, and I had a great season. Simmie Isabell at Dunes was the first to help me, and he said I was a natural.”
With two 300 games, multiple 299s and 11-in-row games to her credit, Thomas faced her biggest challenge overcoming cancer and the working her way back to health and competition.
She said her friends in bowling, and husband of 43 years, Bruce, have made all the difference.
“You don’t often know how much people care about until you get sick,” she said. “My bowling family helped me fight. Without them, some prayers warriors and my husband, I wouldn’t have pulled through. I’m now bowling five days a week again, my strength is coming back, and I’m feeling about 80 percent. The journey has been great because you find people who you didn’t think cared really do care.”