Bowler still throwing strikes at 98
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Joe Meka, 98, of Lake Hauto, throws the ceremonial first ball during the Hazleton Bowling Association Senior Tournament held recently at the Spare Time bowling lanes in Hometown. He ended with a spare.
Those are probably the best words to describe Joe Meka of Lake Hauto. Since retiring, Meka, 98, has answered the call of the lanes and the greens.
Meka, born in Summit Hill on Dec. 24, 1912, has been bowling since the late 1960s and golfing since the mid 1970s. He later resided in Coaldale, and is one of the few last surviving members of his family. He was married to the late Mary Hrisko of Coaldale from 1938, until she passed away in 2000.
Meka had three children, the late Joan Meka Boyle, the late Joseph W. Meka Jr., and daughter Susan Zehner.
He worked at the Kovaleski Bakery in Summit Hill and remembers kneading the dough by hand.
In addition to the bakery, he also worked at the No. 8 colliery in Coaldale and General Motors until 1975 when he retired.
He routinely spends one or two days a week bowling at the Spare Time bowling lanes in Hometown.
"I remember him starting to bowl and golf around his late 60s," Meka's daughter Susan said. "He used to play chess frequently also."
In 1975 Meka joined the mixed couple league at the old bowling alley in Hometown, Sky Lanes, currently part of the Hometown Farmers Market, and he has been bowling ever since.
"It is a pleasure and inspiration to play with Joe," said John Zukas, Meka's bowling partner and past president for the Pennsylvania State Bowling Association.
Golfing was also a popular pass time for Meka, as he spent many days walking the course at the White Birch Golf Course in Barnesville. He started using the cart in 1995. In 1979, he scored his first hole-in-one on hole 13 and then a second hole-in-one on hole 6 in 1981. He is very proud of those trophies.
Tom Paisley, president of the Hazleton Men's USBC Bowling Association said, "I wish I could be as active at that age. It is incredible!"