Hall Of Fame Inductee
Inducted into: Builder Division in 2006
Inducted into: Player Division in 1986
Theda Procher was born in Chapleau, Ontario and came to Toronto in 1938. While her husband, the late Bill Procher, joined the workforce, Theda stayed home and raised two boys.
As a recreation, Theda became involved in softball and eventually bowling as the sport blossomed following the Second World War Living in Toronto, Theda was at the heart of the bowling game and, when the sport exploded in the late 50s, she was ready to play a role.
As an accomplished bowler, she was a natural to join dual Hall of Fame inductee Mabel McDowell, as the Toronto Star began a series of instruction clinics that ran from 1957-1965. During a six week period, Theda, along with Mabel and fellow dual inductee Doris Luke, Hall of Famers Janet Peel and Marge Bentley, and Marg Walford, Dottie Glandfield, Eileen Huston, Tiny Baker and Vi Warn covered the City of Toronto with free clinics for the hundreds of ladies daytime leagues that were forming at that time.
With the formation of the Ontario Bowlers Congress and the start of the Provincial Open in 1965, Theda was at the top of her game. She had already won the Canadian Ladies Team Championship in 1964, the last year that the Open was run by the proprietors. Theda won four more provincial team titles, with the ladies in 1966 and 1968, and the mixed team in 1974 and 1983. Theda also won the Ontario Ladies singles title in 1969, but the Canadian Championship was not contested due to the controversy over the abolition of the counter pin. In total, Theda qualified for twenty-six Opens with sixteen as a single, twenty-two on the ladies team and four on the mixed team.
With the beginning of the Master Bowlers Association program in 1964, and the subsequent production of the instruction program for five pin bowling, Theda literally toured the province, traveling as far as Thunder Bay, offering the first instruction clinics to the provinces bowlers. With the development of the National Coaching Certification Program, Theda was the instructor model for the first slide program and this initial effort lasted for thirty years. On the lanes in Master Bowlers Association competition, Theda added two more national gold medals in 1973 and1974, the first two years of national ladies team competition.
Individual bowling centres have also used Thedas instruction talents. Specifically, she ran weekly clinics at Ace Bowl at the Golden Mile for thirty years and also worked with the Bowlerama chain in both Toronto and Barrie. Overall, Theda has been an instructor for over forty-five years, starting in 1957 and continuing until her retirement in 2003. She worked with all groups including seniors, people with a disability and also children, passing on the basics of five pin bowling.
To be closer to her family, Theda now lives in Barrie and is constantly amazed at the number of bowlers who thank her for taking the time to offer her instruction tips. Her best students may have been her grandchildren, Jason and Wendy, who have both developed into outstanding adult bowlers.
THEDA PROCHER of Toronto, the former Theda Crowhurst of Chapleau, is proud of her roots in that Northern Ontario town, and also of all she has achieved since moving to Toronto. She bowled on three Toronto Ladies’ Teams that won the Ontario Open Championships in 1964, 1966 and 1968, and on two Toronto Mixed Teas that won the Ontario title in 1974 and 1984. Four of those teams went on to win the Canadian Open Championships, the Ladies’ Teams in 1964, 1966 and 1968, and the Mixed Team in 1984. In Sudbury in 1969, she won the Ontario Ladies’ Singles Championship. Theda is a charter member of the Master Bowlers and for almost 30 years has been active n the sport’s instruction and coaching programs. While she’s still looking for her first perfect 450 game, Theda is one of just three people with a perfect record of 23 consecutive appearances in the modern O.V. Open Ontario Championships. Her ambition is to stretch that string to 25 years!