Funeral services will be held for Marvin Gerald Pettiford Jr. tomorrow beginning at 11 a.m at St. Peters AOH Church, 1478 E. 92nd St., Los Angeles.
Pettiford, affectionately known as Chip (as in “Chip” off of the old block) was one of the first three African Americans to help break the color barrier in youth bowling as a member of the Greater Los Angeles Junior All Stars (GLAJAS). In the mid 1970s, the All Stars was one of the highest averaging youth leagues in Southern California.
Born Jan. 19, 1959, in Chicago, Ill., Pettiford, the oldest of three children from the union of Doris and Marvin Gerald Pettiford Sr., moved to Los Angeles with his parents in 1965. He graduated from Los Angeles High School then attended West Los Angeles and Glendale community colleges.
Because both of his parents were prominent local bowlers, it was only natural that Pettiford gravitated to the sport. His instruction began at age 8, and those early lessons would help develop his life-long love affair with the sport that continued for 49 years until his death.
Pettiford completed his first year in bowling at age 9 with a 98 average, and by 1976, at age 18, booked an impressive 195 average in the Greater Los Angeles Junior All Stars travel league. (GLAJAS).
That year he would also led his team to the league championship in All Stars. His performance that season was so outstanding that it warranted creation of the league’s first Rookie-of-the-Year award. In 1977, he followed up his second year in GLAJAS finishing among the top five averages and broke the 200 average barrier for the first time. He would never fall below that mark for the rest of his bowling career.
Pettiford’s bowling accomplishments were many and include being the first African American to win a Junior Amateur Tour title. In addition to winning numerous bowling events as a youth bowler, Pettiford went on to make his mark as an adult as well.
He turned professional at age 19, and on the Professional Bowlers Tour, was frequently a cash winner. His highest finish was 12th place at a stop on the PBA Tour in Grand Rapids, MI.
On the regional level, Pettiford won the National Bowling Association Western Regional Bill Rhodman Singles Classic, the California State Masters and was a frequent top-five finisher at PBA Regional tournaments in both California and during his two-year residency in Georgia. He owns 10 certified 300 games and five series topping 800 with 835 being his all-time best along with a 239 all-time high average.
After eight years of courtship, Pettiford, who was a very spiritual man, was united in marriage with Angelia Wade on March 1, 2013, and together reared a 16-year-old son.
Besides bowling, Chip enjoyed swimming, bike riding, and watching MMA fighting matches. But most of all, he was obsessed with his 1992 Nissan 240SX. He spent years lovingly tweaking, customizing and upgrading the car.
Pettiford once confessed that one of his proudest accomplishment was remaining sober for more than 13 years and said he owed much thanks to his sponsor Art Burris, the 12-step program as well as the support he received from his wife.
Pettiford also eventually went back to school and graduated as a drug abuse counselor at the House of UHURU in 2012.
Pettiford’s pain and suffering from his short battle with prostate cancer came to an end Feb. 18. He leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Angelia Pettiford; his son, Gamel Collins; his father, Marvin Gerald Pettiford Sr.; sister, Marcia Douglas; stepmother, Sarah Chan Pettiford; stepsister, Andrea Pettiford; a stepbrother, Jesse Pettiford; and many nieces and nephews.
His mother, Doris Pettiford and his sister, Pamela J. Pettiford preceded him in death.
Tax deductible donations can be made to the nonprofit charity Chip Pettiford Prostate Cancer Foundation Inc. and may be sent to P.O. Box 78698, Los Angeles, CA 90016.