Carroll County Times
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Oldest member of Mount Airy senior bowling league celebrates 99th birthday by downing some cake and pins

Once or twice each week, every week, Joseph Mullineaux, 99, slides on his bowling shoes at Mount Airy Bowling Lanes and does his best to throw some strikes.

Joe Mullineaux fist bumps Neil Jenkins, a fellow bowler in the Friday Morning Seniors after bowling a 105 at Mount Airy Lanes Friday, Jan 14, 2022. Mullineaux, a WWII veteran, has been bowling with the group for the past seven years.

On Friday morning about 40 members of his senior bowling league celebrated their friend’s birthday with a surprise cake covered in chocolate and vanilla frosting, as well as kind words.


As his daughter, Jeannie Rainer, brought out the cake, a big smile grew on Mullineaux’s face.

“He was definitely surprised,” Rainer said. “Everybody came around and sang happy birthday.”


Mullineax started bowling in his retirement and regularly gets in about three games a week.

“I was bowling in the women’s league, so he decided to join the senior league,” Rainer said. “He really enjoys getting out and seeing people.”

His average score is 88, “pretty good,” according to his daughter.

Alyson Rineer, operations director at Mount Airy Bowling Lanes, said she’s happy to see Mullineaux actively bowling on a regular basis.

“He still gets up there like he would if he was 20 years old,” she said. “We enjoy having him very much.”

Born and raised in Damascus, Mullineaux moved from Texas to live with his daughter in Maryland about seven years ago. They live in Montgomery County, about 10 miles from the bowling alley in Mount Airy.

Rainer said although her father doesn’t hear very well, he’s in pretty good shape physically. He is currently the oldest person who participates in Mount Airy’s senior bowling league.

“He’s been fit all his life, partly from serving in the Army during World War II,” she noted.


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Mullineaux stays active in the community in a number of ways, including regularly attending church and playing bingo at the American Legion Post 191 on Thursday nights.

“A lot of people know him,” Rainer said. “The COVID-19 pandemic was rough on him since he was pretty isolated for a while.”

The virus kept him from bowling for almost a whole year.

In 2016 Mullineaux wrote an autobiographical booklet titled “93 Years of Living and Learning.”

“I learned at an early age to be self-reliant,” he wrote. “I was the middle child in a family of six.”

Rainer said at 99 years old, her father has outlived all his brothers and sisters and even some of his nieces and nephews.


“No one believes his age because he looks so young,” she said.