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Popular bowler Alan Logan dies at 52

Alan Logan with Lillian Matson
Courtesy of Alan Logan family

Alan Logan, a longtime league bowler who was one of the sport’s most colorful and likeable players, died Thursday.

Logan, 52, had been suffering from cancer for the past couple of years.

“He was just a wonderful, wonderful person,” said Mike Rice, who bowled with Logan at now-defunct AMF Rocket Lanes in Chatsworth and AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills.

“He’s going to be missed greatly by a lot of people.”

Logan, who lived in Canoga Park, was credited with initiating a new term in bowling’s lexicon with his blazing fastballs up the middle of the lane.

The term “smashmouth bowling” was based on Logan’s bullets that rattled the pins and sent them flying in all directions.

“He threw the ball as hard as anyone in the world,” noted longtime bowler Tom Martino. “He had so much power that every pin became a 'messenger' and he’d avoid splits that way.”

Logan often talked about throwing a hook but said he was content with shaking up the pins. “I’m not sure if it’s the right coaching method,” said Logan of his gun-slinging ways, “but it’s just my personal technique.”

Logan was married almost exactly three months ago. His short announcement on Facebook said, “Lu Lu and I got married 11/12/13.”

Lulu is Lillian Matson, who was Logan’s life partner and longtime bowling teammate.

Logan worked in the maintenance department at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena and was receiving treatment there.

He averaged 129 at Rocket Lanes in 2005 and built his average to 155 during league play at Woodlake Lanes.

Logan, who had a sharp wit, rolled a career-high 242 in May 2012 despite bowling with a pain in his back.

“I helped the granddaughter plant the garden,” he said that day, “and came down with a sore back. And my 15-pound ball was too heavy, so I used a nine-pound house ball. There’s no crying in bowling.”

And he added: “You just have to adjust, adjust, adjust.”

Logan was one of the most popular players on the lanes, Martino said.

“He was very well-liked by everyone,” Martino said. “No one ever said a bad thing about him. He always was one to congratulate the other team when they did well.”

Logan was an enthusiastic bowler who celebrated his strikes with an ear-piercing clap. “It’s my personal excitement,” he said. “I wear my excitement on my sleeve.”

Added veteran bowler Carol Tucker: "To me, he had the most loving and kindest spirit of any man I’ve ever known. He was sincerely nice to every person he came in contact with. You don’t meet people like him often. I was lucky to have known him.”