By Jon Gremmels Herald Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — You’ll find Doug Stouffer on the lanes at Plaza Bowl once or twice a week participating in league play. It’s the things you don’t see him do that have brought him recognition.
Stouffer was honored recently for years of meritorious service to the sport with his induction into the Iowa State USBC Bowling Association Hall of Fame during the state meet in Sioux City.
“If it weren’t for bowling, I’d be far back,” joked Stouffer, who was inducted along with Michael Peters of East Moline, Ill., and the late Elwin Clark of Terril.
“It’s an honor,” Stouffer, the 12th person from Clinton to join the Hall, said. “Some of the other guys that went ahead of me in years past, I don’t know if I’m in their league.”
Those who nominated him might beg to differ.
In the nomination letter, they said, “Although Doug is an accomplished bowler, having raised his average from a beginning 142 to 201 with numerous 700 series, it is his dedication and service to the game of bowling that is worthy of merit.”
After listing his numerous contributions over the years, they concluded, “It is this type of dedication, enthusiasm, hard work and continuous effort in the promotion and furthering of the game of bowling, on the local and state level that deserves your serious consideration and election of Douglas D. Stouffer to the Iowa State Bowling Association Hall of Fame.”
The rest of the people will have a chance to show their appreciation for Stouffer at a reception on May 18 at Plaza Bowl.
Stouffer’s bowling resume includes behind-the-scenes activities for a number of leagues and boards. He has served as secretary/treasurer of the Sunday Nite Mixed League; the Hawkeye League; the Saturday Nite Mixed League, which he organized; the Summer Madness League, another one he organized; the Recreation League; and the River Valley League, which he has served since 2005.
He was elected into the Clinton Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 2003 and was named the association’s “Man of the Decade” in 2010. He has helped in organizing fundraisers.
He was elected to the Clinton Bowling Association Board of Directors in 1991 and the Iowa State USBC Board of Directors in 2003. He served as president of the Clinton Bowling Association in 1999 and 2000 and president of the Iowa State USBC Bowling Association in 2010-11. He has served as Clinton Bowling Association Manager since 2000.
“There’s an appeal of being behind the scenes,” Stouffer said. “I don’t know what it is really.
“I try to be the guy who keeps things running and have fun doing it,” he said.
He finds many rewards in doing that.
“Bowling is like a lot of sports,” he said. “There’s the actual act of bowling, then there’s the people, and the people are what really make it — the friends you make. It’s an honor to be recognized for what I’ve done.”
Stouffer, a control room operator at Exelon in Cordova, Ill., credits several past legends of Clinton bowling for helping him along the way.
“I’ve kind of learned from watching people before me,” he said. “Names like Dean Boyce (a league secretary). I watched how he did things. Everyone in the league he was secretary of enjoyed the work he did and stats he kept. I had an opportunity to give it a try and found I enjoyed that. It got you meeting people more.
“Jerry (Ramig, another Hall of Famer), is a good person to point a finger at as far as running the local; Tom McLaughlin and Larry Witt (also Hall of Famers), too. All three of those guys were on the state board at one time. They helped steer me a lot of places. They were good people to be around and learn from. And Gene Steensen has helped me out through the years.”
Stouffer, 54, a native of Dixon, Ill., got involved with Clinton league bowling in the 1982-83 season in the Saturday Nite Live League. He has bowled in 30 consecutive Clinton City tournaments, 27 Iowa State tournaments, 10 Peterson Classics in Chicago and seven national tournaments.
“I was asked by a friend to join a league, and it went from there,” he said. “I had one friend on the board of directors for the local, and it seemed like that would be something. I got involved in the organizational end, and I kept getting a little more involved.”
And people noticed ... and appreciated what he did. Now the whole state knows.