Del Leween, who has owned Pla-Mor Lanes in Watertown with his family since 2001, died Tuesday from complications due to COVID-19, the bowling alley announced on its Facebook page.
Leween, 72, purchased the alley with his wife, Christine, from Gordy Mattraw Jr. in December, 2001. Mattraw and his father had owned the alley since the bowling house opened in 1949.
“Our bowling family lost its patriarch today. Covid hit us all at once and Del had it the hardest out of all of us,” the statement on Pla-Mor’s Facebook page said. “We will be closed the rest of the week to give our family time to get (through) this. We understand everyone may want to reach out to us, and we appreciate greatly your concern. Just know we love our bowlers and we thank all our customers for sticking with us during this difficult 2020 season.”
Del Leween was an avid bowler and a member of the 700 Club Hall of Fame. He brought up his son, Shane, to bowl and Shane Leween has managed the bowling house the last two decades.
Del Leween also ranked as a top softball pitcher for more than 30 years and was inducted into the New York State Hall of Fame in 1993. He had won more than 500 games in his career at the time of his induction and pitched in 13 national championships.