ARLINGTON, Texas – Chuck Pezzano of Clifton, New Jersey, a United States Bowling Congress and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Fame member, died Friday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic, New Jersey. He was 86.
Pezzano, who began writing about bowling for a local newspaper while an English major at Rutgers University, would go on to become one of bowling’s most prolific authors. He would write articles for more than 100 publications, authored more than a dozen books and wrote thousands of newspaper columns about the sport.
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1929, Pezzano started bowling at age 14 and became one of the top bowlers in his area by the time he was 17. After a short stint in the Army, he attended Rutgers and continued to bowl, posting the first certified 800 series (824) by a collegiate bowler. He also started writing a bowling column three times a week for the Paterson Morning Call, then added a golf column and would later become the paper’s lead sports columnist.
He eventually joined The Record newspaper in Hackensack, New Jersey, and continued a writing career that would last more than 60 years.
While Pezzano was a competitive bowler – he averaged more than 200 for 23 years – he became more involved in the sport including serving as commissioner of the Eastern Professional Bowling League. He was a charter member of the PBA and, in the 1960s, he and future PBA Hall of Famer Frank Esposito started the PBA Regional program.
In addition to running the PBA East Region, Pezzano would serve as PBA secretary for 20 years and become its historian. He was a member of the PBA’s inaugural hall of fame class in 1975, inducted for meritorious service, and the PBA named its pressroom in his honor in 2011.
Pezzano also was involved in the early productions of bowling on television, starting with his work with legendary announcer Mel Allen on Jackpot Bowling. He would later work with hall of fame broadcasters such as Chris Schenkel, Jack Buck and Brent Musberger, and did work as a consultant on TV shows, movies and instructional bowling videos.
He served as president of the Bowling Writers Association of America and was the first American selected to serve as president of the World Bowling Writers. He also served on several hall of fame boards, including the PBA, American Bowling Congress (ABC) and Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC).
He was inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame for meritorious service in 1982.
Pezzano is survived by his brothers Russell and Arnold Pezzano, sons Charles Jr., Craig, Curt and Clay, and grandchildren Amanda Rose Pezzano and Jarod Charles Pezzano. He was preceded in death by his wife Lila, brother William, and sister Joan.
A wake will be held Wednesday from 4 p.m.-8 p.m., with the funeral service scheduled for Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Both the wake and service will be held at Bizub-Quinlan Funeral Home, 1313 Van Houten Avenue, Clifton, N.J. 07013.