Kay Stanko was one of Windsor’s finest bowlers for three decades. She won a number of titles during the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, including the Canadian Singles 10-Pin Championship and the Canadian National Bowling Proprietors Association Singles title, both in 1965.
Stanko was born in Ceshan, Yugoslavia, on September 6, 1921. She came to Windsor six years later, where she enrolled at St. Angela Elementary and later W. D. Lowe High School.
Stanko’s bowling career began in the early 1940s at the Royal Bowling Lanes, also known as Steve’s Rec. In the ensuing years, she regularly competed at the Palace Rec (which later became Crescent Lanes), Golden Mile, and Rose Bowl Lanes.
Stanko was a three times High Qualifier for the Molson Masters Singles Match Play Tournament, in 1962, ’64 and ’71.
1965 was arguably the strongest year of Stanko’s bowling career. She reached national prominence after winning the Canadian Singles 10-Pin Championship, in Alberta, and the Canadian National Bowling Proprietors Association Singles title, in Montreal. She also competed on the international circuit, finishing seventh at the Tournament of the Americas Amateur Bowling World’s Tournament in Miami.
In the years that followed, Stanko continued to excel in local competition. She was a three-time Molson Match Play Champion (1966, ’68, and ’69) and City of Windsor High Average Champion (’66, ’67, and ’68). The latter award was computed over a sixty-six-game league season. Stanko was also a two-time City of Windsor Singles Tournament Champion (1971 and ’74) and Windsor Doubles Tournament Champion (1974, with Barb Swegles and 1979, with Barb King).
In 1973, Kay returned to the Tournament of the Americas in Miami, this time as part of a doubles team with Evelyn Slobasky, where she captured a silver medal for Canada.
Stanko was named to the City of Windsor All-Star Team in 1974, ’76, ’77, and ’78. The team comprised the five area bowlers with best per-game averages calculated over sixty-six league games.
While accurate records were rarely kept until the early 1970s, we know anecdotally that Stanko won several other awards in the first two decades of her career, which she spent bowling for the Windsor Ladies in the Detroit chapter of the Women’s International Bowling Congress. Windsor entered the Canadian Women’s Bowling Association in 1973, meaning that the accomplishments of elite area bowlers have been preserved for posterity since then.
Kay Stanko passed away on February 27, 1982.