When women’s pro bowling needed a kick-start in the early 1980s following the demise of the Women’s Professional Bowlers Association, John Sommer was largely responsible for the creation of the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour. While Sommer remained in the background for the most part, John Falzone served as “the face” of the organization to the bowling industry and Corporate America. Falzone passed away in Mexico on Feb. 13 following a short illness. He was 80.

Falzone served as both LPBT President and Commissioner while tour operations were headquartered at The Cherry Bowl in his hometown of Rockford, Ill. Among Falzone’s achievements while running the LPBT was his development of the Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall umbrella sponsorship of the tour, which helped guarantee that the sport’s best female competitors would have a world-class venue in which to compete on a yearly basis.

Ironically, the 2023 PWBA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at Sam’s Town on May 17. Falzone and Sommer are the only men who are members of the PWBA Hall, Falzone having been enshrined in 1996 in the Meritorious/Builder category.

Prior to becoming known nationally for his work with the LPBT, Falzone was a pinboy at Rockford’s State and Madison Bowling Alley, published the Greater Rockford Bowler newspaper and co-hosted the local “Bowling for Dollars” program on WREX-TV.

Falzone is survived by his wife of 61 years, Kathy Falzone; his daughter, Bonnie Falzone-Capriola, and multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

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