Alonzo L. Lucas, III passed from this life on February 2, 2015. Services were held for him Saturday, February 14, 2015, at the Cremation Society of Minnesota, with over 225 in attendance to pay their respects to this revered man of our community.
Mr. Lucas was born, raised and went to school in St. Paul where he raised his own family and contributed to the success of his community in many ways. He was active in the civil rights struggle. He was a master plumber. He coached youth in several sports, and at the time of his death he was the president of three of the oldest African American bowling leagues in Minnesota.
He was the assistant director of Oxford Community Center where he started his work with young people while building his plumbing business at the same time, which he ran for many years, servicing cities all over the state. He retired in 2014 to a leisure life of traveling, bowling and golf tournaments. As an excellent, competitive bowler in the 220-plus range, he was an inspiration to many as he competed and won in many local and national tournaments.
Alonzo was serious about everything he attempted, be it the success of his company, the success of the young players he coached in various sports, or the success of his leadership of the bowling leagues of which he was president. He was a fierce yet civil bowling competitor. He shared his bowling enthusiasm, reaching out to others to provide advice and coaching.
He joins the legendary Black bowling greats in Minnesota’s history. He was truly a Minnesota icon. He now walks with the bowling greats who preceded him, such as George Manning, Cliff Burns, Sr., Larry Walton, Art Moore, Sr., and Ron Woods, all men who carried on their shoulders the mantel of Black excellence in the field of bowling in Minnesota.
All of them represent why we should have a Minnesota Black Bowlers Hall of Fame to recognize the great ones going back all the way to the legendary players in the 1930s and George Manning. And in remembering them along with Alonzo L. Lucas, III, we reflect on the battles fought against segregation and racism in the bowling centers of Minnesota and across the country and the inspiration Mr. Lucas and other gained from Mr. Manning, Mr. Burns, Sr., and Mr. Walton.
They helped break down the “No Negroes” barriers and covenants so they could bowl in Minnesota tournaments, as they successfully carried out with their presence the integration of bowling in Minnesota. Mr. Lucas and other improved their game on and off the field, especially in the civil rights battles begun years earlier, again following the inspiration of Mr. Manning, Mr. Burns, Sr. and Mr. Walton. They made sure that opportunity, and respect that goes along with that opportunity, was accorded to every African American bowler who took to the lanes.
We were privileged to watch Mr. Lucas develop and participate in the leagues of which he was the president and which he loved so much. We are privileged to be present during his success.
He was taken too young, but in his journey he made many friends. He rolled a lot of good games and he left this place a little bit better than how he found it. He will truly be missed for he was one of the great warriors who instilled pride and demanded excellence in all the fields of endeavor in which he participated.
Our blessing and condolences go out to his wife Kathleen and to his children.
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