Juanita Weber, wife of the late PBA legend Dick Weber and matriarch of bowling’s most famous family, died at a St. Louis assisted living center late Monday night. She was 89. Born on Aug. 28, 1930, she had been in declining health for some time.

Juanita was the mother of long-time PBA Midwest Region Manager Rich Weber, daughter Paula Darmon, Director of PBA50 and PBA Regional Tours John Weber and 37-time PBA Tour champion and Hall of Famer Pete.

Bowling superstar Dick Weber, shown here in a 1960 photo, 12 years after he married Juanita.

Juanita and Dick Weber had met in a bowling center when both were teenagers. According to the story she later told her children, Juanita went to the center with a girlfriend to watch a guy named Curt Heady bowl league. Her father, she had said, didn’t want her going to the “bowling alley” back then because “nice girls don’t hang out in bowling alleys.”

According to her story, her future husband approached her and said, “Don’t I know you?” That inconspicuous beginning grew into something much more serious after Dick bowled in the American Bowling Congress Championships Tournament, won some money and returned to Indianapolis with marriage on his mind.

They were too young to be married without parental consent, but got permission and were married in Indianapolis on Dick’s birthday: Dec. 23, 1948.

Dick and Juanita moved to St. Louis shortly thereafter, where Dick joined the famous Budweisers of St. Louis and launched one of the most successful careers in bowling history.

Juanita also bowled. “I never bowled a 300 game, but I did win a state title,” she had said.

But her greatest claim to fame was her behind-the-scenes role as advisor and manager of one of the most decorated families in bowling history.

In keeping with family tradition and her wishes, Juanita Weber will be cremated. No funeral services will be held. The family asks that any memorials in her honor be donated to the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, 621 Six Flags Drive, Arlington, TX 76011.

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