by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Normally I try to bring a smile to readers of “My Nickel’s Worth” however on Saturday our Minnesota bowling community lost a great bowler and my friend, Howie Herstein. I first crossed paths with Howie back in the early 1970s when we competed in the Tonka Pinbusters League at the Aqua Bowl in Deephaven. We would share wise cracks with each other and I have to admit we were both pretty good at it. Later, Howie became president of the league and I was the secretary. I cannot print here some of the stunts we pulled at the banquet. One of my Howie stories was a night when he had the front eleven and on the twelfth ball he left a stone flush eight pin. Now in those days, 300 games were rare and a bowler hitting 299 would frequently be prone on the approach and beating his fist at the foul line. Howie just turned and laughed at his fate. Sort of like he already knew he would shoot his first 300 game in the league about 4 weeks later.
Howie owns many titles, including 3 Minneapolis City titles, (two team and a doubles), a St. Paul team title, and two Minnesota team titles. He also posted wins in Fairmont, Fargo, RanHam, and Elsie’s Lucky 13. I believe his biggest win came in the Hank Muench Classic in 1976 with an 8 game total of 1549. “The Muench” was a tournament in Wisconsin and many bowlers stopped there on the way to the Peterson Classic in Chicago. Back in the days of rubber and plastic bowling balls, Howie’s high average was 219. I am confident that if Howie would have been able to extend has career into this millennium he would be in Lumpy territory at 240 plus. Howie was inducted into the Minneapolis District USBC Hall of Fame in 2011.
Howie’s bowling career was curtailed by his battle with type 2 diabetes. He lost toes on both feet. I needed to visit the Veteran’s hospital for a checkup a couple of years ago, and I found Howie’s room and we had a long chat reminiscing about our bowling, and some of the characters we came across. Howie was a veteran who served a tour in Viet Nam; I respected him for that, as my term of service overseas was in Germany and no one wanted to kill me there.
Howie leaves behind his first and only wife of 40 plus years, Linda, His beautiful daughter Allyson, his son Adam, and sweet granddaughter, Ryan. Howie was a great bowler and a great friend to many. Rest peacefully now my friend.