Wilt began her career with PBA in a clerical position in July 1970 when PBA’s offices were located in Akron, Ohio, and there were just five people working in the office. Over the next 44 years, she created a legacy of service to the organization and its members.
“It’s impossible to thank Barb Wilt enough for her professionalism, reliability and talent over an amazing career with PBA,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark (right). “Without ever having thrown a ball in competition, Barb has been the heart of the association and no one has meant more to the enduring history of the PBA.”
It was an employment agency ad that led Wilt to the PBA for a job that involved public relations.
“Public relations,” she laughed, “meant running press releases on the mimeograph machine and stuffing them in envelopes and then mailing them.”
Over the years, Wilt processed all PBA Tour entries and payments, sent out membership and media mailings and became involved in keeping tournament and player stats which would become increasingly important with the development of the senior and regional tours.
Part of her PBA experience was not working for the organization, but helping PBA founder Eddie Elias with his Eddie Elias Enterprises clients and projects.
“Eddie represented a lot of people in entertainment and sports,” Wilt said. “He would get scripts and unpublished books and he would pay me on the side to read them and tell him what I thought. I got to meet movie and TV stars, professional golfers, and, of course, the greatest bowlers in the world.
“I always loved bowling,” she added. “I watched it on ABC before I started working at PBA, so I was really excited to get to meet all the bowlers. I think of all the things I’ve done, being part of the PBA School was really high up on my list.
“More recently, seeing PBA’s growth internationally, changes in technology and to see people like Jason Belmonte and Osku Palermaa revolutionizing the sport with their two-handed delivery have kept working with PBA very interesting to me.”
In retirement, Wilt will continue another important role – as a grandmother to eight-month-old Will – when she moves to Asheville, North Carolina to be closer to her daughters Angie and Amanda (who lives in Carrollton, Ga.) and their families. She also plans to do some volunteer work with the Asheville Humane Society.
If there was one guiding principle Wilt had throughout her career it was the dedication to customer service.
“I would often get the same question a hundred times, but I had to make each person or player feel like they were getting the best part of me and they were getting the best service possible,” she said.
“You have to always remember that these were people who cared a lot about the sport and it was their passion, and in many cases their dream.”