2017 Hall of Fame Inductee
On August 19, 1930, Phyllis Joan, was the first and only child born to parents, Henry and Amie Battey, both since deceased. We spent most of my toddler years in El Monte, California. I had a pet, a huge white rabbit named Wiggles (named after his wiggly nose). My favorite toy, given me on my First Birthday, was a huge Gold German Teddy Bear that had jointed arms and legs and real glass eyes. He stands 25 inches high. (Amazingly, 86 years later, l still have the bear, which is preserved in a plastic showcase in my home.) Our neighbors were the dairy cows on the other side of the fence in the backyard and across the dirt road, at the front yard, a Walnut Grove. My father was a specialized Switchman for Ma Bell Telephone Company and prior to my kindergarten age, he was transferred to then Los Angeles area. We did not own a car in those days so l and other neighbor children walked to Burnside Avenue Elementary School, which was a block north of Venice Blvd. We used to wait at the tracks before crossing Venice, just so we could watch the popular Red Streetcar fly by on its way to the end of the line at “Venice’s Muscle Beach. The summer l finished Burnside my father was transferred to the Bell office in the Leimert Park area. I attended and graduated from Audubon Jr. High and that fall enrolled in a business major, at Manual Arts High School at 42 and Vermont, l proved to scam exceptionally well in Bookkeeping, Typing and Gregg Shonhand. l was a member of the Girls’ Volleyball Team, and pretty good at the net, because l was taller than most of the other girls! Shortly after graduation from Manual Arts in 1948, l was employed by the Western/Beverly Branch of the Security National Bank as a Safe Deposit Teller. ln 1949 l accepted an offer from the Los Angeles Branch of General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) where l could put to work the skills l learned in high school and earn more money. l eventually was promoted to the Special Collections Department Specialist. I held that position 35 years until ln 1983 and at age 53, l chose to retire with full benefits. lt was a wonderful company to work for and l have always been very faithful to them by only driving a GM product.
While still employed with GMAC, I married Richard Ryan in 1952 and moved to Hawthorne, located in the South Bay near LAX Airport. We were blessed with three beautiful children, Kathleen in 1953, followed by two boys, Timothy in 1956 and Kevin in 1959. By the time Kathleen was five, she was learning to swim at the Hawthorne Pool and progressed exceptionally well to eventually compete in the Hawthorne Swim Club. Both boys, by age seven, were playing Pop Warner Football, Little League Baseball, and progressed up to the Middle League Division. Whichever sport, l captured the moments.
Understandably, each sport expected parents not only to attend the events but to volunteer to work all of the money-making projects. Somehow, I managed to meet these commitments around my work schedule. Each of the children successfully finished high school and immediately found their path for their future. Kathleen became a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist for Kaiser Permanente 30 years, since retired. Tim joined the U.S. Navy Dive Locker in San Diego, serving 20 years, retiring as Master Chief. As a civilian, he was hired as Contract Manager for San Diego State University, for 14 plus years, since retired. Kevin began with Anheiser-Busch as a big rig driver delivering the merchandise; moving his way up the ladder to currently Safety and Risk Manager for the San Diego Plant. Between the hoys there are five grand-children. Tim has Gregory, Thomas & Tori and Kevin has Gregory and Steven. And I couldn’t be prouder.
Bowling came into my life before I married and had the children. I often visited my dad at his telephone office in Leimert Park. There was a little building across the street on Crenshaw Blvd. Leimert Bowling Alley. it was built right off the sidewalk. They had a huge window and it was always open. You could stop and lean on the windowsill and watch everyone bowling. It was amazing! Sometimes l would go with my dad when he practiced and after a few times l was convinced l want to do that too.” My second encounter was merely from a special invitation to all GMAC employees from Pico Bowl & Billiards, to plan a bowling many. This was on Pico Blvd. just a block east of La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles. l didn’t know what to expect but after watching and a few tips from those who knew what they were doing, leave it a shot. l managed to stay upright. At that time l lived on Western Avenue and Olympic Blvd. and I found Western Bowl which was located on Western Avenue & 7 Street, not far from where l lived. Now this was quite a unique place because it was built right off the sidewalk and you entered through the glass doors to enter the bowling area. But, right next to that door, they also had an elevator which operated right off the sidewalk as well, taking you upstairs where the bar was. A guard met you at the upstairs elevator door and checked your ID! l didn’t bowl a league there, but being so close, was good for open play with friends. After l moved to Hawthorne l was amazed to find “lo and behold” Hawthorne Bowl. It was walking distance from our home. Time permitting l would go there and watch the better bowlers and with a bit of tutoring from the owner, l caught on to the game pretty fast. He finally sold me my first pair of bowling shoes. From then on, l took note of how many bowling centers there were. It didn’t matter what city you drove through, they had a bowling center. ln 1953, a few months after Kathleen was born and while l was still on my GM 12-month pregnancy leave, l had an opportunity to join my dad on a team in the Bell Telephone Company League at Vermont Bowl, located on Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles. Little did l know, that when l purchased that first WIBC Card through the Los Angeles WBA it would open a new chapter in my life.
Each year forward I became more interested in being a better bowler. So, l would tuck the children ln bed and go to my 9 p.m. leagues and bowl tournaments on weekends. For one occasion or more, l have bowled in all of the centers LAWBA serviced. And, of course, can remember so well, where l posted my career highs: League average 186 and League HSG 289, at Rose Bowl, El Segundo; League HSS 705 at Gardena Bowl, Gardena; Tournament HSS 680 (2nd Pl.) at 1989 WIBC Singles in Bismarck, North Dakota. After I shot my 700 series, l was solicited to join the National and Los Angeles 600 Club. Sometime after retiring in 1983, I accepted the position of President of the LA Club, and my bowling friend Geri Curtis took the Secretary position. We both held our office until 2014 when we disbanded the club. (Our club participation dropped gravely due to the competition from the local Tournament Clubs. We couldn’t come close to the prize funds they offered. The bank account was a healthy $1,200 so we sent half to the CALUSBC BVL and half to the California Bowling Writer’s Phone Cards for the Military).
Early in the 1960’s I was able to satisfy my curiosity as to “what makes the wheels turn” to run all these events. I attended my first LAWBA Association Annual Meeting. From then on, I was “an easy catch” as a volunteer. With all the women who were role models as a board member, it didn’t take long for me to learn what it takes to be a part of a smooth mining association. I never seemed to say No so after I served as a Director 17 years, and having chaired all the committees, I moved through the chairs for 7th Vice; 3rd Vice and 1st Vice and was elected LAWBA President on two separate occasions, a total of 10 years. During all that process l was elected yearly as a Delegate to the WIBC Convention for 36 years. LAWBA honored me with a Life Membership and installed me into their Hall of Fame.
In 1976 while bowling the Ladies Scratch Classic at Bay Share Bowl, Santa Monica, l met a 200-average bowler, Phillip Knoll. We were married in 1977. We are still married! We are still bowling! In 1984 – An Opportunity. City of Los Angeles was hosting the Olympics. Track and Field events were held at the Coliseum. l got the urge to take a huge supply (in the hundreds) of LAWBA Fund Raising pins and set out for Exposition Park. l offered the fans the pins for $1.00 each and the news that The Sport of Bowling was to be a contender for future Olympics. My supply was sold before the sun went down!
In 1985-The Men and Women’s Bowling Alliance was born from the combined efforts of members representing their associations; Los Angeles Women’s; San Fernando Valley Women; Santa Monica Women; Southeast District Men’s; and Los Angeles Men’s. At the time, I was President of LAWBA. The group worked together to co-host as one to provide a annual tournament to sanctioned members of their respective associations. The first annual tournament was successfully presented July 1986 at Gable House Bowl, Torrance. Each year following was promising until we lost the other associations through the merge process. Larry Worrall and my dear friend Lupe Burke and myself managed the tournament until 2010 (our 25th Anniversary). We made it public that due to the country suffering a financial burden, that tournament was cancelled and the organization disbanded.
ln 1990, Mary Lynly, President of the California WBA, appointed me to the board as a Director, a position I held for 16 years. Also in 1990, I was honored as an inductee in the Southern California Bowling Writers Hail of Fame. Carol Mancini, was Vice President of the SCBW and from then until today, I have considered her as one of my dearest friends. In 1991 Elaine Hagin, who was in the forefront of all that was happening in the bowling arena, had been working with the headquarters of the Olympic Festival Committee that was bringing their event to Los Angeles. Because of her endorsement, I was appointed the Coordinator for the Bowling Venue held at South Bay Bowling Center in Redondo Beach. I picked all bowlers to our volunteer staff. Who Could Service Bowler’s Better Than Bowlers? Everything went like “clockwork”. We received accolades from visiting guest WIBC President Gladys Banker. During these exciting times, I took on the task of being a bowling writer and with encouragement from Mary Lynly, a prolific writer, I became a member of the California Bowling Writers and National Women Bowling Writers organizations. I served as Secretary of the NWBW, for 9 years. My writing earned me a few prestigious awards among the way.
In 1998, I was one of four others appointed by WIBC President Joyce Deitch to serve on the Separation Ad Hoc Committee held in Salt Lake City, Utah. The two-day task was to validate (or not) separating the annual meeting and the championship tournament. The long hours spent were well rewarded when we were given unheard of permission to sit in the Temple while the Mormon Choir was practicing. It was spine tingling.
It is important to note in 2000 while chairing the CWBA Star of Tomorrow Committee, I had the extreme pleasure of presenting to the CWBA Convention Delegates the two Stars, who happened to be Missy Bellinder and Scott Norton. (and 17 years later, they’ve made us ever so proud!)
In 2001, a close friend Lily May Hester of Sierra Vista, AZ and Co-founder of the Helen Duval BVL Fan Club approached me at that year’s WIBC Convention and convinced me to join their organization. The Club was founded in 1995. The purpose of the Club was to honor Helen Duval, our California Bowling Legend. The Club sponsored a $500 Scholarship in Helens name, for a YABA Member, who was a daughter or granddaughter of a US Veteran of the armed services. As a proud Military Mom, I served as their President until 2010. The Club was disbanded following Helen’s death that year. l still stay in touch with Lilly May by telephone.
In 2005, with ABC/WIBC/YABA merged I served on the California Transition Team. After California was chartered in 2006. I was elected to the Board as a Director. While l served on numerous committees and gave it my all, it was when in 2007 President Al Hoffman appointed me Chair of the Star of Tomorrow Committee. We had two recipients that year, Rose Lynn Brown of Modesto and Douglas James Lauer of Twenty-Nine Palms. I was so fortunate to have been chosen by President Johnson to chair that Committee for 5 years. l have to say it was often difficult to hold back the emotion when presenting to the delegation all the wonderful credentials of each individual Star. It indeed became one of my passions. I will be forever grateful to the Presidents who gave me that assignment.
After having served for 10 years, I chose to relish my memories and not seek re-election at the 2014 meeting held in Sacramento. In the fall of that same year, newly elected President Rosie Parker called and asked if l would chair the Star of Tomorrow Committee one more time. By the January 15, 2015 deadline, three applications had been received., however, none of the three scored well enough to qualify. My final business on behalf of CAUSBC was with a “heavy heart”, when l sent those three letters of regret. Although after my retirement from GMAC, I offered much of my time to the Bowling Arena, 1 still found the urge to be of some service to my community. For many of those years, I have been active with St. Margaret’s Community Center, which offers free services to over 12,000, low-income and homeless individuals who are in need of assistance in ALL areas. l have rescued surplus bakery three days a week, from two Starbucks Stores in Hawthorne and deliver to St. Margaret’s. Each December l volunteer to work their Christmas Gift Party bringing joy to thousands of children. It could very well be that the gift the parent chooses from what St. Margaret’s offers, is the only gift under their tree!
For over 30 years, I have been a member and the Secretary-Treasurer of the Roaring 90’s Mixed Scratch Doubles League. I can’t score like I have in the past, but I will be there every week to give it my best for that day. I am scheduled to bowl in my 49th USBC Women’s Championship Tournament in Baton Rouge this May. God Willing! I will participate in my 50th in 2018.