Lifestyle & Human Interest

Man Honors Late Father with Custom Bowling Ball Incorporating Ashes, Scores Perfect Game: 'He Was There'


Bowling was a family affair for the Hinkle family. Growing up, John and Joe Hinkle remember late nights at bowling alleys with their parents.

Their father was the one who introduced them to the sport, and though he was good at it, his son John Hinkle became a two-time NCAA bowling champion and was even better than his dad.

In 2016, John Hinkle Sr. passed away, and since then his son has been trying to find a way to honor his late father through the sport they both loved.

Now, John Hinkle in Peoria, Illinois, still bowls — but this year he did something a little different. The 39-year-old bowls two-handed, which is legal as long as there is no thumb hole on the bowling ball.

So John had his father’s ashes added into the thumb hole of his bowling ball, and then he took the ball to his league night.

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Bowling a 300 game is nothing new to John, but the win that night was especially sweet because his dad was there with him.

“I was talking to my brother and told him, ‘I’m shooting a 300 with this ball,'” John told WMBD-TV. “And [Joe] goes, ‘do it!'”

By the time he was finishing up the game, John was a bit emotional.

“I had tears in my eyes in the 11th and 12th frames,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you where that last ball went, I had so many tears just throwing it.”

It was especially memorable because though his father had gotten very close to 300, he’d never quite hit that target.

“It’s special,” John explained. “Dad always shot 298, 299, never had a 300. I had goosebumps, chills.

“He was there. This is the best [300 game], and definitely the hardest. I was shaking.”

“This makes up for so many nights growing up that we slept in a bowling alley while our parents were finishing league night,” his brother, Joe Hinkle, added.

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John posted the video of the final frame on Facebook, where the story originally took off.

“I can’t express what tonight means to me,” Hinkle posted on Facebook on April 12. “I just bowled a 300 with my ball I put my Dads ashes in. He never had a perfect game until NOW.

“Thank you so much Kayla Marie Johnson for putting his ashes into my bowling ball. Epic Night.”

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