You gotta keep active
COLLINGWOOD – She’s got a room full of trophies so Marion Healey doesn’t need to prove herself to anyone but herself.
The 94-year-old woman said she has been bowling “forever.”
“You gotta keep active,” said Healey who started bowling at Georgian Bowl when it opened in 1964.
“We used to bowl at the old bowling alley,” downtown on Hurontario Street before that, she said between plays at the Tuesday afternoon seniors’ league.
Healey has never stopped bowling, even when she became a widow.
“I enjoy bowling. It’s good exercise and you meet lots of people,” she said.
One of her best friends is teammate Joy Barr. They have been bowling together for the past 20 years. Now that Healey isn’t driving anymore, Barr drives her and teammate Betty Riches, 93, to Georgian Bowl every Tuesday.
“They enjoy it. They like to get out. It’s something to do,” Barr said.
Healey said her other best friends aren’t bowling anymore, but they think it’s good that she is continuing.
“As long as she can keep going, she might as well keep going,” said Barr. “Once you stop your body seizes up on you. You gotta keep moving.”
Bowling is a good way to spend the winter, said Healey, who wears a hearing aid, but had a hard time hearing with a lot of background noise at the alley where lanes not used by the seniors league were filled with children and their parents on March Break.
Healey’s best game score surpassed 300. This season she’s had a game of over 200 and she bowled a 196 last week.
“She was an excellent bowler. Now she gets frustrated because she can’t bowl like she used to but I keep telling her she’s getting out and doing something. It’s just for fun,” said Barr.
Healey still lives in her own home, cooks her own meals and does all her cleaning without assistance. She has three grown children and three grandsons.
Healey volunteered at the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital for many years and used to do a lot of baking. She still makes great butter tarts, said Barr.
Fellow teammate Jane Moore said, “bowling is in her blood. It keeps her young.”
“It’s great that at her age she’s still bowling. Some days she does great. We aspire to be as good as Marion here,” she said.
Lee Hanley, a co-owner of Georgian Bowl, said the alley was built in 1963 by Dalt Sampson. In 1982 Ray Hanley bought the business. His children Trevor, Lee and Aaron took over the business about 10 years ago. Ray still bowls in the senior league.
Lee said Healey is sweet person and they would like to see more seniors get out bowling.
“She’s an example. Bowling is a sport that you can do any age.”
Georgian Bowl at 832 Hurontario Street also has wheelchair ramps where bowlers can wheel up to the foul line to release the ball.
“It’s gets them out and keeps them active and keeps their mind healthy as well,” Lee said.