Jean Stewart, 68, duckpins champion

April 04, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Jean Stewart, a former parochial school teacher who achieved local duckpin bowling fame by winning the 1965 Evening Sun championship, died March 28 of cancer at her Lake Wales, Fla., home. She was 68 and had lived in Fallston.

Often photographed attired in an unwrinkled white bowling blouse embroidered with the name Jean and a large capital S, she was ranked as one of the city's leading duckpin bowlers. In the 1950s and 1960s, she was a frequent contender in the annual midwinter competition sponsored by the old Evening Sun. She was inducted into the Baltimore Duckpin Bowlers Association Hall of Fame in 1994.

"She was competitive yet down-to-earth, a good sport," said Patsy Stroessner, a retired top-ranked duckpin bowler who lives in Eldersburg. "She was always interested in the betterment of the game."

Born in Baltimore, Maria Regina Webb was raised on Harview Avenue and graduated from St. Ursula Parochial School in Parkville. A 1953 Towson Catholic High School graduate, she later studied education at Loyola College.

She taught the fourth and fifth grades at St. Matthew Parochial School in Northwood during the day and bowled in the Thursday Major Minor Traveling League at night. Her home base was the old recreation center at Howard and Monument streets.

Bowling reporters often commented on her "meticulous" form, a reference to her exacting style on the maple-floored lanes. Family members said she was similarly meticulous in her daily habits.

"She had beautiful handwriting, just what you would expect of a parochial school teacher," said her sister, Rita Remson of Timonium.

Mrs. Stewart's name first began appearing in 1950s newspapers when she emerged as a leading duckpin bowler. Along with other participants in the Evening Sun contest, she contended at neighborhood bowling alleys in a schedule that rotated throughout Baltimore in December and January.

Sports observers said the duckpin contest once ranked as a major local sports contest.

In the late 1970s, she was a founder of the Women's Professional Duckpin League.

She never gave up the game and traveled to East Coast duckpin tournaments in a recreational vehicle. About 15 years ago, she moved to Florida - where duckpins are not played - and she was forced to switch to tenpins. She bowled weekly with a mobile home league.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today at St. Ursula's Roman Catholic Church, 8801 Harford Road.

In addition to her sister, she is survived by her husband of 45 years, Richard C. Stewart; a brother, Edgar Allan Webb of Baltimore County; and nephews and nieces.

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