Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Retiring `Answer Man' Leaves Void for State, Local Groups

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Retiring `Answer Man' Leaves Void for State, Local Groups

Article excerpt

How important has Ken Wasser been to bowling in St. Louis and Missouri?

"I call him the Answer Man," said Barb Nickel, president of the St. Louis Bowling Proprietors' Association. "Whenever I call him up, I say, `Hey, Answer Man, I need your help.' He knew everything that was going on in bowling. Ken was a huge help to me and a lot of other people. I'm going to miss my Answer Man."

With the start of the new year, Wasser ended his reign as executive director of the St. Louis and Missouri Bowling Proprietors Associations.

Wasser, who turned 65 on Dec. 20, retired after 15 years as the top BPA official in the city and seven years as the state's top man. And, of course, 44 years of dedicated service to the sport.

Wasser owned Ferguson Lanes from 1950 to 1979. He sold the center to sons Doug and Ron, and took over as executive director of the St. Louis BPA.

When August Barnhouse of Eldon retired as executive director of the Missouri BPA in 1987, Wasser took over that job as well.

He said each step was a natural one for him.

"All the time I was a proprietor, I was very active in the association," Wasser said. "I just loved doing it."

Another passion was working with youth bowlers. He has had a major impact in that area in St. Louis.

Among other things, he helped form the Mid-America High School Bowling Association, which this season has 34 teams.

"I've always pushed youth bowling because I know the future of the sport really depends on our youngsters," Wasser explained.

His own future took an alarming turn in 1989 when he was diagnosed with leukemia. But he underwent chemotherapy for ninth months, and the cancer has been in remission ever since.

And now that he's 65, he said it was time for him and his wife, Gloria, to make a little better use of their motor home. And, he's still bowling twice a week.

"I just decided last spring that this year would be it," Wasser said. "It was time to give it all up."

Taking over for Wasser will be Gary Voss, owner of West County Lanes.

Now Voss will be the new Answer Man for Nickel and many others in bowling here, and across the state.

The Missouri BPA will honor Wasser with a dinner and roast Jan. …

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