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12/9/2012 2:33:00 PM
12-12-12 a magical day for Edmunds
Will celebrate 95th birthday in Chelan this weekend
From left to right: Avis Tharp, Hazel Edmunds, Anna Rodgers, Greta Griffiths and Elanor Nichols pose for a team photo.Courtesy of Hazel Edmunds Hodgen
From left to right: Avis Tharp, Hazel Edmunds, Anna Rodgers, Greta Griffiths and Elanor Nichols pose for a team photo.
Courtesy of Hazel Edmunds Hodgen
Michelle Lovato
Staff Writer

Hazel Edmunds Hodgen was the first woman to own a bowling alley in Chelan.

She was the first woman to bowl a "600 or better in league" score, and she was the first female to work for the United States Forest Service in Chelan.

Mixed into all that activity, Edmunds Hodgen raised five kids in Chelan, most of whom stayed in Chelan to raise their own families.

On Dec. 12, Edmunds Hodgen will celebrate her 95th birthday.

She was born on Dec. 12, 1917.

To celebrate, Edmunds Hodgen and her family will host a public-welcome birthday party from 1 to 4 p.m., Dec. 8, at the Best Western Hotel in Chelan.

Edmunds Hodgen first arrived in Chelan in 1945 with her husband and her four oldest children.

Her youngest son, Gene Edmunds, was born in Chelan.

She and her first husband spent several years in Manson processing apples for Sportsman Fruit Company.
In 1955, the opportunity to buy a bowling alley rolled her way.

"There was a four-lane bowling alley on the main street (East Woodin Avenue) across from the tavern," she said.
The Radio Shack occupies the former bowling alley space today.

Dan Gordon first owned the Chelan Bowling Lanes, and his son was running it, Edmunds Hodgen said.
"I bought it from him.

It had a little lunch counter that served sandwiches, pie and that sort of thing.

When the opportunity came along to buy it, I thought it was a good idea."

Edmunds Hodgen owned the bowling alley for 2 years.
"Gordon Balch came into town and bought it, then built a 10-lane alley and I worked there as the assistant manager for 2 years," she said.

During that time, Edmunds Hodgen made history again when she bowled a 617 series in league.

A local newspaper captured the moment in print.

"It was an exciting night at the Chelan Bowling Lanes when Hazel Edmunds, bowing for Kier Drugs, rolled a big 617 series. She is the first woman in Chelan to bowl 600 or better in league," the article read.

There is nothing to indicate which newspaper ran the story.
After her job as Assistant Manager, Edmunds Hodgen worked as the first female employee of the forest service.
"They used to have a young man work for the forest service during the summer," she said. "They were hiring a clerk for a full-time, year-round position."

Edmunds Hodgen worked for the forest service for more than 5 years, commuting from her home in Manson to the same office located on West Woodin Avenue that the forest service occupies today..

Eventually Edmunds Hodgen left Chelan, but her children stayed and raised their own families.
Edmunds Hodgen's children are: Gene Edmunds, Patty McClellan, Georgia Anderson, Jackie McGuire and Mick Edmunds. She has 12 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren.

Contact Michelle Lovato by email at

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Article comment by: pete buckmaster

I was trying to get her phone number. I was 1 of her pinsetters when she owned the bowling , I also know all the ladies in the picture. The other owner of the bowling alley was stan corbon, he was before dan gordan

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