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Johnny Bulla

Posted 2010-05-05 by Vince James Eagle Scout Project
Johnny Bulla died Sunday, December 7th, at the age of 89. Born in Newell, WV in 1914, the legendary Pro Golfer's career spanned nearly four decades. He was a Resident Celebrity in the Valley, having moved his family here in 1946. He helped design a dozen golf courses and won 42 Sectional titles, including 14 Arizona Opens. He was a member of The Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame, and the Arizona Hall of Fame. He was a longtime friend and travel buddy of Sam Snead, runner-up in the Masters, U S Open, and twice in the British Open. He played 40 consecutive L.A. Opens, winning it in 1941. He was a man who could play golf as well left-handed as he could right. He was also a man of many "firsts". He was the first pro to endorse merchandise outside the pro shop, featuring Walgreen's Po-Do Ball and Sears Balls and clubs. He was the first Pro to fly his own plane, "The Golfer", a DC-3, piloting other touring Pros around the country. He was a pilot for Eastern Airlines, and started Arizona Airways, which later became Frontier Airlines. He was the first Pro to champion the rights and equality of other players. He played his first tournament at the age of 11, and won his last, the Southwest Senior Open, at the age of 71. After losing his sight to macular degeneration, he continued to walk 5 miles a day, and give occasional golf lessons at Ocotillo Golf Club. He worked hard at his golf game, but in life he was "The Natural". Living it to the fullest, he inspired family, friends and countless others with his unwavering philosophy: "Think about the next shot, not the last". He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Pauline. He is survived by two sisters, Miriam Dyer and Edith Albertson, son Robert Bulla and daughters Barbara Nash and Beverly Schjelderup, and his beloved grandchildren: John, Kristi and Bonnie Bulla, Kimberly Stewart, Kelly Nash, Alexander and Vanessa Schjelderup. Services will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church, 6300 N. Central Ave, Phoenix, on December 16th at 11am.

Published in the Arizona Republic on 12/10/2003.

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