Long-time Indianapolis bowling proprietor and PBA Tour host Don Mitchell of Indianapolis, who died on Thursday, Sept. 27 in Indianapolis after a lengthy illness, had a passion for all aspects of bowling.
Mitchell, who was 80, was the former owner of the Royal Pin Leisure Centers which included Woodland Bowl, Western Bowl, Southern Bowl and Expo Bowl. He was also a long-time PBA tournament host and sponsored PBA Hall of Famer Mike Aulby for many season. He was also a partner with Aulby in ownership of Mike Aulby’s Arrowhead Bowl in Lafayette, Ind.
“Don was one of the great bowling people,” said Aulby. “He loved the industry and the people in it. I was with him the night before he died and he was still sharp and able to talk. We were very fortunate these last few weeks to talk bowling.
“Don knew the importance of the Tour and its promotional value for the sport as a whole—he was very innovative.”
Mitchell first became a PBA Tour host in the early 1980’s and his centers hosted many events since then.
While his career in the sport focused on center ownership, Mitchell was also able to retain a passion for competing as well. In 2010, he became the 125th bowler to compete in 50 United States Bowling Congress Championships Tournaments.
"I loved working at the centers," Mitchell said after competing in the 2010 USBC Tournament. "I have been very lucky because I got to do the one thing in my life that I loved the most, which was running a bowling center. I felt like a sports icon because I was paid to do what I loved. I loved my customers, my employees and especially the game of bowling. It has been very good to me."
He proudly served his country in the United States Army during the Korean War conflict. Don was a member of numerous bowling organizations where he was proudly inducted into multiple Bowling Hall of Fames. He enjoyed golf, boating, snow skiing, and spending time with special friends on numerous outings.
He is survived by his loving children David (Lori) Mitchell, Donna (Charles) Leimgruber, and Craig (Terry) Mitchell. Also surviving are siblings Dee King and Steve (Kay) Kelly, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
A celebration of life service will be held Tuesday, October 2, at 6 p.m. at Crown Hill Funeral Home Remembrance Chapel in Indianapolis. Visitation will be from 2 p.m. until time of service. Immediately following service there will be a celebration dinner where family will receive friends.
Memorial contributions can be made to the International Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.