It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of John W “Bill” Chrisman III. Bill was the first born of John W “Bill” Chrisman and Lucille Ellis in Salt Lake City, UT. He had atrial fibrillation for many years, and it was deemed that he had a blood clot form in his legs that traveled to his heart or brain. It was sudden and we are all devastated by the loss of this bigger than life vibrant man. Bill resided in Pleasant View, UT with me, Barbara, his wife. He was the love of my life. We were married in a little trailer court clubhouse in Layton, Utah. We celebrated our 52nd Anniversary on August 15th. Bill had the quirkiest sense of humor. When asked “What’s the secret to a long marriage?” He replied, “never want a divorce on the same day!” I’m so glad we didn’t. We had a wild ride during our life together.
In the early 1980’s we started C-C Distributing, Inc., which was a small chemical cleaning and industrial supply company. It was his knowledge of making cleaners that led us into making a bowling ball cleaner and we started High Score Products. In 1991, with the help of Keith Orton, we decided to start making bowling balls. We had a hard time getting financing as no one thought two dumb kids from Ogden, Utah could go up against the multi-million-dollar giants like AMF and Brunswick. We decided to take a loan on our small house to buy our first lathe and materials to make a new ball we called Storm. We mixed the first bowling ball in a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket! Soon we changed the name to Storm Products, Inc. and our overseas market kept us afloat, with the help of Robert Dong and Ron Wood. We finally started to catch on in the United States with grassroots work and a ball called the Fire Storm.
Bill was an amazing entrepreneur and marketer. We were just talking one night, and I asked if we could put fragrance in a ball because we both knew how important fragrances were in cleaning chemicals. So, in the spring of 2000 Storm introduced and patented the process of making scented bowling balls. This was a breakthrough in the market! The invention and process resulted in Bill being featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal for this innovation to the sport of bowling.
For Bill, Storm was his passion. Really it was beyond a passion, it was a dream that, with action, became a reality. Bill was truly a pioneer in the industry. He loved the game and always wanted to make it better. His unrivaled financial support, time and dedication to all things bowling has led to him being called, by some, as The Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T.) in the industry.
Bill was always uncomfortable with recognition for his efforts. He always said it wasn’t him it was his ability to get great people to surround him. But the awards just started coming. As a team we have received numerous honors from the bowling industry, including the 2016 International Bowling Media Association Alberta E. Crowe Meritorious Service Award, 2014 Billiard and Bowling Institute of America's Industry Service Award in recognition of their contribution to the promotion of the sport, 2003 William Landgraf Memorial Award for Distinguished Service and the 2003 John Davis Award Memorial Award. Nationally, Bill and I, each on our own merits to bowling, were inducted into the United States Bowling Congress 2021 Hall of Fame Class. It was the first-time spouses were inducted in the same year.
Individually, Bill Chrisman also served the sport at the local association level, spending time as a director on the Ogden Utah Bowling Association Board from 1981 to 1989. He was inducted into the association's Hall of Fame for superior performance in 1994 and was also placed into the Utah State USBC Hall of Fame in 2005 for meritorious service. His efforts and determination earned him special recognition from USBC in 2014 - the Joyce Deitch Unity Award - given to individuals who have made important contributions to bowling as motivators, visionaries, leaders, and innovators.
As much as bowling has benefitted from his individual dedication, Bill Chrisman will be remembered for his collective contributions and the impact his company has made on the sport. His hard work has impacted people of all ages, from the youth bowlers who compete in the Storm Youth Championships to the bowlers rolling Storm Bowling Balls in their senior leagues. His life will make an everlasting impact.
Bill believed in giving back to the sport he loved and the community in which he lived. He generously donated to the Huntsman Cancer Center, The Bowling Hall of Fame, domestic violence shelters (YCC), Salvation Army, Ogden Rescue Mission, Keystone Recovery Center. Women’s Retreat House (Drug and Alcohol programs and housing), Lantern House, food banks and many others.
Bill is survived by his wife, Barbara A Chrisman of Pleasant View, UT; daughter, Carrie L Chrisman of Ogden, UT; sons, Joel (Heidi) Chrisman of Tacoma, WA; and Michael L Chrisman of Las Vegas, NV; granddaughter, Paige N Chrisman of Tacoma, WA; brothers, Joe P. Chrisman, Twin Peaks, CA and Patrick (Susan) Chrisman of Pleasant View, UT; many nieces and nephews and their children. He was preceded in death by both parents and sister, Therese (Terri Lee) Holden.
Honey, I can’t believe you are gone. I will miss you terribly. My love, my life partner and my soulmate. I love you.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Bowling Hall of Fame, the Huntsman Cancer Center or any of the charities listed above.
A more private memorial service for family and friends of the family will be held on October 9, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Genesis Project, 3525 Riverdale Road Ogden UT. We would like to invite our bowling community and employees to attend a public memorial Thursday, October 12, 2023, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Eccles Center in Ogden. A large Celebration of Life for the Bowling Industry at large will be announced shortly. We are looking for venues in Las Vegas, NV and planning for early November.