2021 Hall of Fame Inductee
CHARLES “CHUCK” ELLENA
Charles “Chuck” Russell Ellena has been named to join the CUSBC Hall Of Fame for Meritorious Service. He is receiving this award posthumously for all the great work he did for our California youth bowlers.
When Chuck arrived at Fort MacArthur (San Pedro, California) in 1960, only adults were allowed to use the bowling lanes at Fort MacArthur Bowl. He felt that the youth needed a place to bowl and after several months of discussion with the base Commander, juniors were bowling in that tiny 6 lane center. When those 6 lanes were shipped to Fort Irwin in the 1970’s, Chuck asked his friend Andy Marzich if he had room at Pro Bowl for his “KIDS”. Andy graciously said yes and the Fort Mac youth bowlers had a new home!
Chuck was actively engaged with neighboring bowling establishments so his youth bowlers were treated well. One of the joys he had was working with the special needs bowlers, hands-on coaching, and helping in leagues and tournaments. When people sought to establish the Southeast District Junior Bowling Association (SEDJBA), Chuck’s name was mentioned and he was asked to help start the Association. Chuck did just that and worked as an officer in the SEDJBA until his passing in May of 1977.
After his passing, the Association named a tournament in his honor, and the Association created the “Chuck Ellena Meritorious Service Award” to be given sparingly and only to the most deserving adult or youth members.
In the summer of 1976 for 13 full weekends, the LAJBA and the SEDJBA co-hosted the California State Tournament. Under Chuck’s leadership the summer was a complete success, there has never been a larger state tournament. Shortly after the SEDJBA took hold, another phone call came for Chuck. This time the need was to create a state junior association. He went to Fresno in 1965, and along with other very special women and men started the California State Junior Bowling Association. Chuck went to every state convention and served in every way he was asked to until his death, and his juniors participated in every state tournament until 1977.
Everyone knew when the Fort Mac bowlers were in the house, because when the Star Spangled Banner was played before bowling started, they SANG.
Chuck was one of the early leaders in this State promoting junior/youth bowling. He valued fair play and good sportsmanship. He was only able to give the children of California 17 years, but that was all he had. He was 48 years old when he passed. His bowlers were the pallbearers. Thank you “Chuck” for all you did for the youth bowlers and bowling!