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Jim Fosdick

Jim Fosdick bowls at Dream Lanes Friday, March 8, 2019.

Many Madisonians remember Jim Fosdick as the longtime owner of Jim's Meat Market, one of the city's favorite places for quality meats, from custom-made brats to prize-winning rib-eyes.

Jim ran the butcher shop for more than 37 years in the PDQ convenience store on Northport Drive. He decided to retire eight years ago and sold the business to John Lehman and Claude Mattie, who had hoped to run it for decades — that was, until the Kwik Trip convenience store chain barged in.

Kwik Trip in late 2017 bought all the area's PDQ locations, including the Northport Drive store, and Jim's Meats was forced to leave because Kwik Trip wanted the space.

So while Jim Fosdick's namesake store is no longer supplying Madison's north side with succulent cuts of meat, Jim himself is still going strong.

He isn't involved in butchering any more, but at age 70 he's recognized as one of the best bowlers to ever grace Madison's bowling scene — up there with Madison pros like Marc McDowell and Jeff Richgels and all-time greats like the Schwoeglers and Thadens.

My longtime buddy and former bowling teammate (back in the good, old days) Jerry Murphy emailed earlier this bowling season to tell me: "You've got to write something about this guy. He's simply amazing."

Murph, a Hall of Famer himself, said Fosdick had just bowled his career 100th 300 game the other night, which could well be the record for an individual bowler nationally.

When I reached Jim early this month, he had added yet two more 300s to his career record and was now at seven 800s for the 2018-19 season.

But this wasn't his best year, he said. That was last year — the '17-'18 season — when he rolled 14 300s and "9 or 10" 800s.

This season is Jim's 52nd. He began league bowling at the age of 18 at the old Dream Lanes (now the VFW clubhouse on Cottage Grove Road). He did odd jobs at the lanes and owners Dick Goldberg and Danny Mack let him bowl free as part of his compensation. A legend in Madison bowling, Elmer Thaden, who maintained the lanes and automatic pinsetters at Dream Lanes, taught him the finer points of the game.

Fosdick credits Dream Lanes and its now owner, Robin Goldberg, for helping turn him into the bowler he has become.

His career stats are now 78 800 series (his highest is a Madison association record 877), 102 300 games and an untold number of 700 series. The bowling ball manufacturer Ebonite has recruited him to its staff and supplies him with new balls and shirts each year to promote its products. This year he won the Madison Bowling Association's singles (813), all events (2245) and was on the tournament's winning team.

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A lifelong Madison resident, Jim is a graduate of La Follette High. He and his wife, Louise, live on Buckeye Road on Madison's east side, where they've raised five children: Jim Jr., Amy, Liz, Mickey and Tim, who, incidentally, is making his mark in the city's bowling circles as well.

Jim's happy at age 70 that he is actually bowling his best. Incidentally, Bruce Bryan, another Madison great, recently bowled an 800 series at age 80. 

Now that the 2018-19 season is nearing its end, what does Jim do at the end of the bowling season? Golf. And word is, he's nearly as good at that sport as he is at bowling.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com608-252-6410 and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.  

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