52 Ancestors: Mickey Furlani Breaks All-Events Record!

Posted by: Eileen A. Souza

Mickey Furlani Breaks All-Events Record! Chester Times, February 25, 1957, pg. 26

Mickey Furlani Breaks All-Events Record! Chester Times, February 25, 1957, pg. 26

According to Wikipedia, “Bowling is a sport or leisure activity in which a player rolls or throws a bowling ball towards a target.” Its origins possibly date to  around 3200 BC in ancient Egypt. For some very interesting and amusing facts about this sport, please see the Wikipedia article “Bowling.”

I’ve chosen this sport as my topic this week since one of my fondest memories of my mother was her passion (obsession) for ten-pin bowling. Marguerite Mary Noble, known as Mickey, was born in Ranshaw, Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania on 21 May 1918. She married William C. Furlani in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania on 26 Jul 1941. She and my father lived in Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania until I was four years of age, when we moved to Essington, Tinicum Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania around 1947.

NewspaperArchive and Newspapers have copies of the local newspaper for Delaware County. It originally began as the Chester Times and eventually became the Delaware County Daily Times. So I did a search in the NewspaperArchive database for ‘Mickey Furlani.’ The search returned 143 articles. I checked them all. Everyone featured my mother and not some other Mickey Furlani.

While a few of the articles contained news about her involvement in scouting most mentions were there because she had high scores in some bowling league or bowling tournament. My mother is in the top left photo of the clipping shown here. She had just won both her class and all-events in the Chester City WIBC Tournament in 1957. I think the article I have here is from her first year of bowling, because I have memories of her telling us that she won the Chester City tournament in her first year, and scored even higher than the highest class. In fact, according to this article, her all-events score broke a record for the tournament.

She went on to win many more tournaments and league games. Her average was always around 200, but she could not handle the traveling required to tour as a professional bowler. Both she and my Dad played in leagues several times a week and went at least one evening on their own to practice. Needless to say bowling was also featured regularly on our TV.

It was a great era to be passionate about bowling with some of the biggest names in pro bowling—Don Carter, Dick Weber, and Earl Anthony. One night she came home from one of her league games very excited. It seems that the great left-handed bowler, Earl Anthony, was in town for some tournament and saw my mother bowl. He was so impressed that he spent some time with her giving her instruction and tips to improve her skills. One story she told was that he would place his hand on the lane, showing her exactly where to roll the ball. The trick was not to roll it over his fingers! He was also very brave.

She finally had to give up bowling when her emphysema got too bad and I always thought that was the day she gave up on life although she lived an additional fifteen years before dying of emphysema on 25 May 1985, four days after her 67th birthday.

The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. challenge, initiated by Amy Johnson Crow, is a series of weekly prompts to get you to think about an ancestor and share something about them. The prompt takes care of the guesswork of “who I should write about.” This week’s theme is Sports.

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9 Responses to 52 Ancestors: Mickey Furlani Breaks All-Events Record!

  1. I remember your introducing us to Mickey! Nice to see her again.

  2. Aleksandra says:

    Great achievements she had.

  3. Your article made me wonder if my mother ever saw the interior of a bowling alley. It’s so cool she was so skilled at it.

  4. Sue says:

    Love it when we can find newspaper articles to add to our genealogy! I’ve always liked bowling but am pretty useless at it. Mickey was so talented and obviously took her sport seriously. Such great memories for you to have!

  5. Dianne says:

    My Mom belonged to a bowling league where she lived and I belonged to a bowling league where I lived and we both loved it. We wold talk once a week and talk about our games.
    I can see how your Mom would have been so excited with a little professional help! What fun!

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