99 years and still bowling strong

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 26, 2008

At 99-years-old, Roland Mayo still enjoys bowling at least once a week with his friends as part of a senior bowling league at Spare Time Recreation.

Mayo turned 99-years-old on July 22. He celebrated his birthday at Spare Time with a cake, close friends, teammates and others in the senior league.

“I come in here some times with arthritis aching and I am absolutely ashamed to even mention anything when I see this man walk in,” Jeanette Tipton, Mayo’s teammate for seven years, said. “He is such an inspiration to anyone who sees or talks to him.”

Email newsletter signup

After turning 83-years-old, Mayo took up bowling because he was unable to participate in other sports he had enjoyed and played his whole life. He said his friend Raymond taught him the basics and he practiced through leagues he joined the first year.

“I am not as good as I used to be,” he said.

Walking to the lane has gotten more difficult since a recent bout of pneumonia.

Tipton said Mayo is a great bowler and an even better teammate.

“He’s very competitive,” she said. “When he’s not bowling well he (snaps his fingers).”

Mayo’s friend Raymond and his wife pick him up for bowling, and if they are unable to, Tipton does.

Tipton said Mayo drove himself to the bowling alley until last year.

Mayo said he has lived in Ironton since he was 11-years-old, he worked for C&O Railroads until he was 65 and he has 10 living children.

“He’s just awesome. I love him to death,” Tipton said. “No relation to me but he’s like a father. He’s absolutely wonderful.”

The New Jerusalem church that Mayo attends celebrated his birthday as it has done every year.

Mayo has some advice for those who wish to live as long or longer than he has.

“Serve the Lord,” he said. “He’s in control of it all anyway.”