Hall Of Fame Inductee

Howie Baker

Inducted into: Builder Division in 2005

Location: Listowel

  • Builder

Howie Baker has been the backbone of the Bluewater 5 Pin Bowlers Association for more than thirty years. However, his original bowling involvement began in Toronto where Howie set pins at the old Ace Bowl on Danforth Avenue both during and following the Second World War.

The family home, which was situated on Withrow Ave. in Toronto, was sold in 1950 and Howie, who was one of thirteen children, headed west to farm in an area northwest of Calgary. Continuing a varied lifestyle, Howie returned to Ontario and, while building cottages in Muskoka, he met Ethel MacMurchy, a young lady from Molesworth who was also in cottage country doing part-time summer work. Ethel and Howie were married in 1961 and they settled in the Molesworth area.

While four children, three girls and one boy, were being born, Howie returned to his bowling roots from Toronto and participated in league play in nearby bowling centres in Listowel and Fordwich. Also, 5 pin bowling was beginning to organize and this area was originally part of Kitchener-Waterloo. However, in 1971, the Bluewater zone was formed under the leadership of Don McWhinney of Clinton and Howie was hooked.

His volunteer service record is at thirty-three years and counting. Over the years, Howie has been President, Booster Club Chairman, Lane Certification Agent and Tournament Director, a position he held for twenty years. During this time, Howie worked the scoreboards for every tournament in the zone. Originally, the zone covered a large expanse from Zurich to Collingwood. In 1976, the northern half separated to form Georgian Bay and eventually Grey Bruce, before returning to the Bluewater designation in 1998.

While this growth was taking place, Doris and Gord Matheson built a six-lane centre in Molesworth, a small hamlet just west of Listowel. Despite its small size, this centre has become one of the most successful in the province. Now run by Brad Matheson, the centre decentralized with the Ontario 5 Pin Bowlers Association in 1983 and Howie was an integral part of the organization. He was the original tournament director and continues in that role. As Booster Club Chairman, Howie annually coordinates the sale of a one hundred ticket kit. He is a certified Level 2 coach and, not only is he qualified to teach the coaching program, but Howie has coached a wide variety of teams from Molesworth and Bluewater in both the youth and adult ranks. His Open coaching experience, which began in 1973 has now reached fifteen different years and, just this past year, was his first try in the senior ranks.

The Annual Convention is the traditional year-end wrap-up for the Ontario 5 Pin Bowlers Association and Howie has been there for close to thirty consecutive years. For his efforts, Howie was named the Certification Agent of the Year in 1983 and, in 2000, and the Ontario 5 Pin Bowlers Association recognized Howie as the Executive of the Year in recognition for his thirty-three years of service at both the zone and provincial levels. This recognition began at the local level, as Howie was awarded a Life Membership by the Bluewater Association in the mid-eighties and, in 1999, was inducted to the Molesworth Hall of Fame. Today, that elite group only has four members namely Erna Lucan (1996), and Doris and Gord Matheson (2004).

Today, Howie and his wife, Ethel, continue to live in Molesworth, while their daughters live in Toronto, Shelbourne and Atwood and their son is in Listowel. There are twelve grandchildren to attend to and Howie continues to volunteer for his chosen sport of 5 pin bowling.