Oak Harbor's Balda knocks down her 90th birthday

Jo Balda tosses a ball down the alley at Oak Bowl.  - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Jo Balda tosses a ball down the alley at Oak Bowl.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor resident Jo Balda enjoyed a bit of recognition when she participated in a Monday afternoon bowling league. She, along with her fellow league members, took time to celebrate her 90th birthday.

Oak Harbor’s newest nonagenarian reached the 90-year mark Wednesday, but her friends have been celebrating the occasion in the days leading up to the event.

The Soroptimists of Oak Harbor, of which she is a charter member, celebrated her birthday Friday and her family will hold a celebration on her birthday.

“I’ve been treated royally so far,” Balda said between frames.

She has been a member of the Ladies Housewives League for decades. She has been bowling since Oak Bowl opened its doors in the 1950s.

“When they opened, I gave up ping-pong for bowling,” Balda said.

She said she still bowls for exercise and has an average of 140. Balda hasn’t bowled a perfect, 300 game yet, but she has a personal best of 264. League members marked the occasion Monday by presenting her with balloons and roses.

The lifelong Oak Harbor resident has been active in community groups throughout North Whidbey.

In addition to her volunteer efforts with Soroptimists, she has served on the boards for the Navy League, New Leaf and North Whidbey Help House. She is also a member of the Republican Women. Balda is still employed at Key Bank.

“I’ve been blessed,” she said.


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