March 21, 1944- May 17, 2019
John L. Fonagy Jr. was a bowling prodigy, meriting a mention in Sports Illustrated.
In 1964, the sports magazine wrote that the 20-year-old had rolled a 759 three-game series (out of a possible 900) to win a singles title in the New York State Bowling Association tournament in Elmira, and that he went on to win the all-events championship. Sports Illustrated noted Fonagy had been an avid bowler since age 8.
It was one of many bowling titles and accolades Mr. Fonagy, an East Amherst resident, would earn during his life, including time spent on the pro bowlers' tour against stars like Dick Weber. Mr. Fonagy bowled eight 300 games during his lifetime.
Mr. Fonagy died Friday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. He was 75.
He was born in Buffalo and graduated from Kenmore West High School and Buffalo State College.
As accomplished as Mr. Fonagy was at bowling, he was also successful at golf. He turned down a golf scholarship offer from the University of Notre Dame to focus on his studies and bowling, said his son, John Fonagy III. Mr. Fonagy won "Beat the Champ," a locally televised bowling competition, six times in a row, his son said.
Mr. Fonagy was known for his discipline and poise in the sport from a young age, his son said, noting, "He didn't get pressured into overthrowing his delivery."
Mr. Fonagy went on to work as a national salesman for Media Sales Plus, retiring about a decade ago.
Along with his son, he is survived by a sister, Patricia Sterns.