Phil Horowitz, Howard Waxer and Mark Voight at a 2017 event.
Phil Horowitz, Howard Waxer and Mark Voight at a 2017 event. (JN File Photo)

Phil Horowitz is believed to be the oldest bowler in national B’nai B’rith bowling history to roll a perfect game.

It would be tough to find a better Jewish bowler in Detroit bowling history than Phil Horowitz. Perhaps impossible.

The 2004 inductee into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame was a gold-medal winner at the Maccabiah Games and National Senior Games.

He’s the holder of four Michigan Senior Olympics age-group state records, two for singles and two for doubles.

He was a competitor on the Professional Bowlers Association Senior Tour (now called the PBA50 Tour) from 1989-93. He never made the televised finals on the Senior Tour, but he did earn some cash for top finishes.

He bowled multiple 300 games and had an 849 high series. He carried a 200-plus average for most of his bowling career, including well into his senior years.

On Feb. 10, 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down bowling centers across the country, Horowitz rolled a 300 game in the Brotherhood-Eddie Jacobson B’nai B’rith bowling league at the 300 Bowl in Waterford.

He was 81 at the time. He’s believed to be the oldest bowler in national B’nai B’rith bowling history to roll a perfect game.

Horowitz died Sept. 7, 2021, at age 82 after battling cancer for several months.

The West Bloomfield resident was still bowling and working (part time) in the insurance and financial planning business before his cancer diagnosis.

Mort Friedman of Waterford, an outstanding bowler himself, knew Horowitz more than just for his accomplishments on the lanes.

After meeting at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, where they were on the men’s bowling team, they became close friends who bowled in many leagues together and traveled together across the country for bowling competitions.

They competed on the PBA Senior Tour at the same time. They created the National Senior Bowling Association, which organizes tournaments for high-level senior bowlers.

They planned to be on the same team last season in the Brotherhood-Eddie Jacobson League, but the league season was canceled because of the pandemic.

Horowitz was planning to compete next year along with Friedman in the National Senior Games in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

“No question. Phil was going to Florida,” Friedman said.

So what made Horowitz such a great bowler?

“Phil was dedicated. A perfectionist. When he wasn’t bowling in two or three leagues, he was practicing,” Friedman said. “And he knew all the rules.”

Friedman laughed when he discussed a few of Horowitz’s bowling successes that didn’t make the record books.

“Phil once rolled 13 strikes in a 300 game,” Friedman said.

Why 13 instead of the customary 12 strikes?

“He bowled a frame in the wrong lane, so he had to bowl again in the correct lane. He rolled another strike,” Friedman said.

Another 300 game by Horowitz was perfect timing.

“Phil bowled a 300 on a night his league’s mystery game (for a prize) was a 300,” Friedman said.

No-tap nights were in Horowitz’s wheelhouse.

“Phil had at least two 900 series when his league had a no-tap night,” Friedman said.

On a no-tap night, bowlers who knock down nine pins on their first ball in a frame are awarded a strike.

Friedman said one of his proudest accomplishments with Horowitz came in the 1995 National Senior Games in San Antonio, Texas, where they won a gold medal in doubles in their age group.

Horowitz also won a gold medal in singles in the age group. Friedman earned a bronze medal for third place in singles.

Teaching and coaching bowling were passions for Horowitz.

Nearly 50 years after graduating from Lawrence Tech with a degree in industrial management, he returned to the college in 2013 as its women’s bowling coach.

Besides bowling for Lawrence Tech, Horowitz was credited with starting the school’s men’s bowling team there.

Lawrence Tech wasn’t Horowitz’s first coaching job. He was the boys and girls bowling coach at Livonia Clarenceville High School for five years before going to Lawrence Tech.

His Clarenceville boys team won the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 state championship in 2013.

Charitable contributions in Horowitz’s name can be made to the donor’s choice.

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