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Lawn bowler worked to expand sport's reach

| Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Henry J. “Hank” Luba died Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013.

Hank Luba's passion was rolling small green balls along the grass.

“He was all about bowling,” said Richard Lockyer, vice president of the Frick Park Lawn Bowling Club. “He made his own handmade signs inviting people to play ... and placed them in Frick Park.”

Henry J. “Hank” Luba of O'Hara died Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, of cancer. He was 76.

A self-employed salesman, Mr. Luba was a past president of the Frick Park Lawn Bowling Club.

“He'll be greatly missed,” said Lockyer, of Point Breeze, who learned the game from Mr. Luba. “He was a very patient teacher.”

Teaching many to play the game he loved, Mr. Luba wished for it to spread to new generations.

“To reach another 75 years, the work and the fun and the game must be shared,” he wrote in an emotional letter to the club after his diagnosis about six weeks ago.

He and his wife of 38 years, Eileen Wright Luba, learned lawn bowling in Santa Clara, Calif., in 1978, where they were living at the time.

“Pretty much everyone who bowls now (at Frick), he taught the game,” his wife said.

The Frick Park Lawn Bowling Club has a long history in Pittsburgh. Work on planning and building the bowling “greens” began in 1935. Within 10 years, the club counted 171 members, including 53 women. It currently has about 60 members and opened a renovated clubhouse last year.

The club almost closed in 1992 when the city said it could no longer afford the bowling greens and planned to convert them to a grassy area. The club partnered with the city to maintain the greens and keep the sport alive.

Eileen Luba asks that instead of flowers, donations be made to the lawn bowling club. The money will be used to fund a tournament next summer to sponsor experienced players with novices, helping to broaden the sport's reach as her husband wanted.

Friends will be received at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Perman Funeral Home and Cremation Services Inc., 923 Saxonburg Blvd. in Shaler. A memorial service will be held at that time. Donations may be made to the Frick Park Lawn Bowling Club, c/o Pat Goetz, treasurer, 425 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15215.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or csmith@tribweb.com.

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