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Frank Esposito

Sport: Bowling

Born: April 28, 1920

Died: July 12, 2006

Towns: Jersey City & Paramus

Francis Esposito was born in 1920 in Jersey City to Italian immigrants Ralph and Lucy Esposito. A friend took him bowling as a boy and he was hooked after one afternoon. Frank began his competitive bowling career in 1930s as a teenager when he joined a high-school league that he formed. After serving in World War II, he became one of the top players in the East, joining numerous all-star teams and averaging over 200 into the 1970s.

In 1955, Frank opened the 24-lane Paramus Bowl on Rte. 17 and became one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the business. The venue, which added 30 more lanes in the ensuing years, hosted major tournaments and was a proving ground for new equipment. Some of the first bowling television shows were shot there. Frank served as a coordinator for ABC’s bowling shows for more than three decades.

In 1958, Frank was among the founding members of the Professional Bowlers Association. The plan was hatched during a tournament in Syracuse. Fellow New Jerseyan Junie McMahon was among the group that formed the PBA under Midwest sports agent Eddie Elias. Another Garden Stater, Lou Campi, won the first PBA tournament, in 1959. The second, held at Paramus Lanes, was the Eastern Open, won by Dick Weber. Frank later served as VP of the PBA.

Frank and New Jersey bowling writer Chuck Pezzano established the PBA Regional program in the 1960s. The longtime bowling buddies also played an important role in the creation of the PBA Hall of Fame in 1975, and were among the inaugural class of inductees. The Paramus Eastern Bowling league, meanwhile, grew into arguably the top league in the country, with dozens of pros competing in various events. Frank also owned several liquor stores in Bergen County.

Frank retired to Florida and passed away at 86 following a stroke.


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