Hall Of Fame Inductee

Rosemary Davidson

Inducted into: Builder Division in 2013

Location: Stratford

  • Builder

A commitment to volunteerism has been the catalyst that has produced a Hall of Fame career for Rosemary Davidson.

Born in London, Ontario, Rosemary initially moved to Kirkton, before settling, with her family, in Stratford at the age of nine. Following her high school at Loretto Academy, Rosemary entered the workforce and, in addition, in 1958, she married Harold Davidson. Together, they raised three children, Kimberley, Bradley, and Rodger.

While Rosemarys employment was in Kitchener, she began her bowling career in Stratford at the Uptown Bowl, which was owned by Stan Craig. However, the larger centre in the Festival City was Mikes Lanes, which was originally built and operated by Mike Gornyiczki. Rosemary enrolled her three children in the Youth Bowling Council (YBC) and, at the same time, she began to coach at Mikes and also became statistician for the junior division.

Five pin bowling was growing quickly and zone associations were sprouting across the province. New concepts, such as decentralization, were just being developed. As well, at Mikes Lanes, Rosemary found a comfort level and the YBC program became her extended family. Her coaching efforts resulted in several teams advancing to the provincial finals and, in 1977, Rosemary won a national silver medal with a bantam girls team. Bowling in Winnipeg, the young ladies from Mikes Lanes lost the gold medal by a mere half point to the local team from Manitoba. She had her own turn on the lanes as a bowler, in 1984 when she qualified for the Open Mixed team for Conestoga, a team that included Hall of Famer Bob Gignac and coached by a young John Dobos. Rosemary also coached in the adult ranks and she won the Holiday Classic earning her and her team a trip to the Florida. This trip was so rewarding that Rosemary has returned to the south each year with her extended family from organized bowling.

In the YBC program, Rosemary accepted the position of Program Director in 1978 and she continued in that role for thirty five years, before stepping down at the end of the 2012-2013 season. During this time, the program was one of the most successful in Canada. Membership was always above average and chocolate sales exceeded $700,000 under her leadership, placing Mikes Lanes among the top five centres in Canada for total sales each year and this with just twelve lanes.

In the adult program, Mikes lanes were part of the old Conestoga association. However, to further promote their centre, Mikes became their own decentralized association in 1981. In the parent zone association, bowlers advance through a series of rounds to reach the provincial final. In a decentralized centre, where every bowler is a member, bowlers advance directly from their centre to the provincial final. At the height of popularity, Mikes was one of over eighty decentralized centres in Ontario. Of course, Rosemary was named the first president of the association, and she continued in this role to this day.

At the same time, the Ontario 5 Pin Bowlers Association had fully developed an incentive program to recognize its volunteers and Rosemary, with her superb organizational skills, was a willing player. She handled record scores at the zone level and won provincial honours from 2007-2009. At the decentralized level, Rosemary surrounded herself with a dedicated group of volunteers. Originally, with Rosemary as President, Mikes was named the decentralized association of the year in 1981. Even better, with a team of Larry Palmby, Chris Taylor, Joe Shaw, Linda Paola, Pierrette Cassidy and Debbie Barber, Mikes lanes has won provincial honours for nine consecutive years, including this past season.

Rosemary supports every bowling program. She is the current Master Bowlers Association zone delegate and, for the past several years, she has been the statistician for the large Western Ontario Blind Bowlers Association. She has also continued as the record scores chair for the Conestoga association, now operating under the Grand River banner.

This lifetime of volunteerism has been recognized and rightfully so. Locally, Rosemary is a life member of both her zone and decentralized association. Provincial bowling associations have all recognized her efforts, including Bowl Ontario, the Master Bowlers Association, and, both the Lions Club of Stratford for her efforts with the Blind Bowlers and the Festival City Optimist Club for her volunteer work with youth bowling. In 2011, the provincial government presented Rosemary with the prestigious Syl Apps award, in recognition of her forty years of volunteer contribution to 5 pin bowling.

While Rosemary and her husband, Harry, are now married fifty-five years, there are also four grandchildren and two great granddaughters. As well, both Rosemary and Harry were both able to retire from the City of Stratford. While Harry was with Parks and Recreation, Rosemary worked in the tax department for eleven years. While Rosemary was planning to cut back on her bowling activities, she also dealt with a heart attack in May of this year. Much of her time is now spent traveling to Kitchener as she continues her rehabilitation. No doubt, she keeps an eye on Mikes lanes and her extended family, as she completes her frequent trips and her health continues to improve.