The SouthShore area lost a beloved resident last month. William ‘Bill’ Boje, founder of The Alley at SouthShore, died early Easter morning, April 12, at the age of 91.
Bill, known to many as Mr. B., was born in St. Louis, Missouri to George and Pauline Boje. Bill proudly served in the Missouri National Guard and the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, where he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. Bill was a born leader with a commanding yet gentle demeanor and accomplished much during his lifetime.
After many years in retail, he spent most of his career in the bowling industry, serving in many leadership roles.
In an attempt to retire, Bill moved to St. Petersburg in 1979, but by late 1980, he was back in the bowling business, where he operated a chain of bowling centers throughout Florida. He joined the St. Petersburg and the Florida State Bowling Proprietors’ Associations and once again served multiple terms as the president of both associations.
His daughter Christy began working with him in 1985. His son, Jeff, joined him in June of 1988, and it was decided that the future was in larger, more diverse entertainment centers. In 2007, along with Christy and her husband, Cary; his daughter Debbie; as well as Jeff and his son’s wife, Sherrie, he built The Alley at SouthShore.
Throughout Bill’s career, his centers always supported many charitable organizations, but near and dear to his heart was the Special Olympics, Toys for Tots and veteran organizations. In 2003, he was bestowed the highest honor in the bowling industry and was inducted into the International Bowling Hall of Fame for meritorious service and a lifetime of selfless giving to the industry that he loved and had truly become an icon.
Bill never did retire. Instead, he went to work in his centers every day up until the time the coronavirus forced the centers to close to the public.
Although Bill accomplished many things in the bowling industry, he was most proud of his family. He was a devoted husband and a loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather and uncle. Despite his demanding work schedule, he always found time for his family. He was always there to help and to enjoy the day-to-day and important events of his family’s life.
Bill will always be remembered by the people he loved as being kindhearted, passionate and unwavering in his convictions and the passions that he pursued.
A celebration of his life will take place at Brandon Crossroads Bowl when the center reopens. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made by going to https://bowlforveterans.org. A special fund is being set up, so please note your gift is for Bill Boje.