Friday, January 19, 2018

RIP Lucille Donahue

One of my dear friends and mentor passed away in late December - Lucille Donahue.  I can't begin to express how impactful this woman was to me.  Not even remotely begin to express it.

I found an interview conducted by author Carl Miller of Lucille during one of the Ladies Tour stops in 2007.  (back then, the Ladies Tour was the "Hunter Classics Tour").

I'm going to paste his interview right here, so you can find out more about Lucille.  She was an amazing woman full of life and such a contagious, positive attitude.  And a laugh so joyful... you would never forget!

RIP my Dear Friend.

No Rocking Chair for this Grandmother

The one-hour drive up the freeway from Galveston Bay to North Houston is tiring on this early Saturday morning, but Lucille Donahue perks up the moment she steps through the front door at Bogies Billiards and Games.  For the past two years, a severe lung infection has limited Lucille’s appearances on the Hunter Classics Amateur Women’s Tour.  Now, as she joins the other board members and players at the registration table, she enjoys the familiar banter.  She’s back in her element, appreciative of the recent improvement in her health and excited by the opportunity to play in another pool tournament.   

Concurrent with this stop on the Hunter Classics Tour, Bogies is hosting a benefit for Anne Mayes, a Hunter Classics Tour member and respected custom cue maker.  Anne is battling cancer.  Throughout the weekend, WPBA touring professional, Kim White, will conduct a benefit in Anne’s behalf, which will include an hourly raffle.  Lucille asks for roll of raffle tickets, and within minutes of her arrival, she’s sold $100 worth. 

Fellow Hunter board member Melinda Bailey says with a smile, “The Hunter Classics Tour is alive because of Lucille.  She’s the nucleus.”


Lucille arrived on the competitive pool scene relatively late in life, and by unusual circumstance.  She was in her late forties, and owner of a real estate company, when one evening she agreed to meet a broker at a bar he frequented.  Lucille had never played pool, but as their business meeting concluded, a mixed-doubles tournament was about to begin.  Lucille got talked into playing, and before the evening was over, she discovered she had a natural talent and an affinity for the game. 

Later that year, two local players, Barney Garza and Ole Olsen, invited Lucille to accompany them to a professional tournament at Top Cats Billiards in San Marcos, Texas.  The field of Texas women professionals included: Vivian Villarreal (“The Texas Tornado”), Belinda Calhoun (“The Texas Belle”), etc.  The skills of these women both impressed and inspired Lucille, and she became hooked on the game and the lore. 

Lucille joined the Hunter Classics Amateur Women’s Tour twelve years ago, and for the past eight years she’s served as a board member.  She’s proud to be involved with the largest and longest-running regional women’s tour.  As a board member, her personal goal is to continue to attract talented women players, so the Hunter Classics Tour will not only remain strong, but continue to grow.

During the twenty years that Lucille has now played pool, she’s also been a member of several league teams that have competed throughout the Galveston Bay Area.  She particularly enjoys playing in the annual BCA National 9-Ball Championships in Las Vegas.  Making Las Vegas even more inviting is the fact that her daughter, Linda, and granddaughter, Allie Rae, live there.  Her other daughter, Lori, and grandsons, Trevor and Keaton, live in the Galveston Bay Area.  When not playing pool, Lucille often turns to her other favorite bay area pastime: fishing.

Despite her late introduction to competitive pool, and never having taken lessons, Lucille has developed a respected game.  Early on, she was just a shot maker, but as she gained in experience, she added defensive skills.  She admits, though, “I don’t practice as much as I should.  Mainly, I’ve just learned from playing.”

As the Saturday afternoon at Bogies progresses, Lucille loses her first match, then wins a match, but then loses again and is eliminated from the championship tournament.  However, since health problems have limited her appearances during the past two years, she’s pleased with her performance, particularly at having won three games in the match she lost to perennial Hunter champion, Leslie Anne Rogers.

On Sunday, as the tournament winds down, Kim White announces that raffles, auctions, and a Saturday night open tournament have raised nearly $5,000 for Anne Mayes.  No one is more pleased than Lucille and the other members of the Hunter Classics Tour.

Despite losing her two matches in the second-chance tournament, Lucille remains as enthusiastic as ever.  “I miss it a lot when I can’t play,” she says, “but life sometimes throws curves.  I love pool, and it’s such a pleasure to be part of the Hunter Classics Tour and to be associated with all these talented young women.”

The next Hunter Classics Tour stop will be at Legend’s Billiards in the Galveston Bay Area.  Lucille plans to play in that event.  Billy, her husband of 48 years, and their grandsons will be among the fans watching.

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