“Tuffy” Leemans’ Glenmont Duckpin Bowling

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November 21, 2020
Amy Lusignan

Tuffy Leemans played in the NFL from 1936-1943. In his rookie season, he led the league in rushing and was named an All-Pro.

In 1978, Alphonse “Tuffy” Leemans was inducted to the NFL Hall of Fame for his time with the New York Giants. At that point, he hadn’t just achieved one of the highest honors in the NFL… he had also become a local legend among Duckpin Bowlers in Montgomery County.

Following his impressive rookie season, he married Theodora Rinaldi in Silver Spring. Tuffy and his family moved to Silver Spring following his NFL playing and coaching career. He started a laundry and dry cleaning business in D.C. Later, he opened Tuffy Leemans’ Duckpin Bowling Lanes.

Tuffy Leemans’ Glenmont Duckpin Bowling Lanes, located in the basement of the Glenmont Arcade, boasted 24-lanes and a place for casual players and serious league bowlers to have a good time.

Duckpin bowling was becoming incredibly popular on the East Coast and in Montgomery County when Leemans’ opened in 1952. Duckpin bowling alleys were popping up around the area, including an alley in White Oak that opened in 1959 and still operates today.

Tuffy passed away in 1979, but his family continued to operate the bowling until it closed in 2002.

Tuffy Leemans has made a lasting impact on Montgomery County, where even today residents share fond memories of bowling at the alley.

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6 Comments

  1. Laurie Wohnhas on November 21, 2020 at 11:43 am

    My Mom bowled there often in the leagues. One summer she was the champ in the “Beat the Champ”game where she bowled first and everyone had to beat her score. Great childhood memories.

  2. Andy Wetzel on November 21, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    I took my kids there in the 90’s to show them how much fun Duckpin was – I grew with Duckpin in New England. Wish I had gone more often….

  3. Jeffrey Snyder on November 21, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    I grew up just down Layhill Rd on the same street as the Leeman’s We ALL hung out there and bowled in leagues. Fond memories

  4. Scotty on November 21, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    I lived across the street in glenmont circle. I remember after school the neighborhood kids would get on their bikes and go to the bowling alley to play video games. This was in the mid 80’s. I was 6 lol. Cant do that these days.

  5. Jim Asbury on November 21, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    Was his wife related to the Rinaldi family who owned Funeral homes, duckpin centers and Rinaldi 10 pin center still open?

  6. David Lassiter on November 22, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Tuffy’s wife’s name was actually Theodora and was called “Tee” for short. She was my mother’s niece, a cousin of mine. She and Tuffy also owned the dry cleaners which was located on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring just south of the beltway. They sold that but the establishment kept the name which I believe is still there. Tee’s mother, my aunt Mary Rinaldi, and my mother were half sisters. Mary lived in Silver Spring. She and her late husband also owned a dry cleaners I believe but were not involved in the funeral home business as far as I know. I knew Tuffy when I was a young boy as I would spend a weekend at their house during the summer playing with their kids. When I was in high school at Archbishop Carroll, Tuffy became our football coach but I rarely saw him then. As I recall, he was a kind, lovable and sometimes gruff character who spoke with a booming voice. At least it sounded that way to a boy my age.

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