Former Willmar Man Scores a Strike in Third Bowling Attempt


Mark London, a former Willmar resident, is set to receive a special honor for his decades-long dedication to the sport of bowling. After two unsuccessful attempts, the International Bowling Media Association has chosen London to receive the Mort Luby Sr. Award for Distinguished Service, and he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this year.

London’s passion for bowling began at a young age, when his parents got him a plastic bowling pin set as a gift. As a young man he took classes at Ridgewater College and worked for KWLM Radio from 1980-85, and eventually went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from St. Cloud State University. He worked at the Kandi Bowl and Entertainment Center in Willmar, and even studied the craft at home, using the family’s fireplace as a makeshift bowling lane.

For the past 40 years, London has been competing and contributing to bowling as a reporter, columnist, and broadcaster. His column, “Just Paying Attention”, has been a staple of the monthly Bowling News magazine and other publications, in addition to his feature stories and interviews. Among them, London’s feature about the Jack Biondolillo family stood out – a story about the memorable perfect game Biondolillo rolled on national television in 1967. London even chronicled the latter’s subsequent struggle with health in 2021, just before his death.

London and his wife, Michelle, relocated to Dubuque, Iowa five years ago, and he currently serves as district sales manager for the local daily newspaper. Despite bad knees that kept him off the lanes for a few years, London continues to compete in the sport and got a chance to practice back in Willmar. He is set to bowl in the Clinton, Iowa tournament later this month.

Considering the impact Mark London has had on the bowling world and the fact that his work continues to be highly valued even today, it is no wonder that this former Willmar resident is finally being honored for his contributions to the sport. He is undoubtedly one of the few deserving people who could humorously claim that, “Third time’s the charm”.