Preeminent lawn bowls reporter Spiro dies at 87

A gifted writer, Norman Spiro reported meticulously on bowls for more than three decades, including for The Jerusalem Post.

Norman Spiro 370 (photo credit: Courtesy Telfed)
Norman Spiro 370
(photo credit: Courtesy Telfed)
Norman Spiro, Israel’s top reporter on lawn bowls, died at Petah Tikva’s Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus on Saturday at the age of 87.
His funeral will be held at the Morasha Cemetery in Ramat Hasharon on Monday at 2 p.m.
“The whole family from Israel, South Africa, Canada, America, Australia and England have gathered here for the funeral,” his son, Michael, said. “His philosophy of life was expressed in his favorite quote, ‘Let tomorrow come, for I have lived today.’ This was his outlook and this is how he lived his life.”
Spiro, who was born on March 13, 1925, in Durbanville in South Africa’s Cape province, excelled as an athlete, studied engineering and worked as a car mechanic.
He spent a year in Israel in 1948, serving as a Mahal volunteer in the 7th Brigade armored unit during the War of Independence.
At this time, he filmed historic footage with a 16 mm. camera, which was broadcast on Channel 10 and is now housed at Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv.
He wrote an account of his experience on the World Mahal website. “Would I do it all again? Absolutely!” he said. “I remain humbly proud of having been able to be present at the birth and recreation of our national homeland, and to have taken part in it.”
Spiro made aliya in 1962 from South Africa with his wife, Mickey, a master bowler who died in 1993.
They moved to Ramat Hasharon, where he first worked in the auto industry, later become one of the founding partners of the Anglo Saxon real-estate company and then worked for Telfed, the South African Zionist Federation, before retiring.
He served as secretary of the national rugby board in the early 1970s. In 1972, he began playing lawn bowls in Ramat Gan, falling in love with the game.
A gifted writer, Spiro reported meticulously on bowls for more than three decades, originally for The Jerusalem Post and later for Haaretz, making a name for himself as the country’s premier journalist and expert on the sport.
Spiro was on the Ramat Gan lawn bowls club committee and the national executive for more than 25 years. He was made honorary life president of both the Ramat Gan club and the Israel Lawn Bowls Association for playing a key role in promoting bowls in the country. In 1998, he was awarded a trophy by Telfed for his outstanding contribution to sport in Israel.
Spiro spent the last years of his life documenting the history of bowls in Israel on his website, together with his partner for the past 18 years, Yudith Rozenblat, whom he met at the Ramat Hasharon bowling club.
“He really loved the game of bowls and never missed a national final,” bowler Denis Phillips said. “He collected an archive of the history of bowls in Israel. He was very much admired and will be sorely missed.”
Spiro is survived by Yudith, a brother, Theo, four children, Michael, Sheila, Karen and Hazel, and eight grandchildren.