Obituary of William Ball
William John Ball
December 17, 1926 – January 18, 2024
William John Ball was born on December 17, 1926 to William Henry Ball and Mabel Lintner Ball. He was raised in Hawley Pa, mostly an area of sweater mills and glass manufacturing. The town was hard hit by the depression but there was a lot of support and good times from the extended family nearby.
Bill was the oldest of four boys: Thomas, Robert, and Richard. All three brothers credit him with helping with school work, sports, etc. as his Dad was often working long hours, repairing appliances and doing jobs around town. There was also a fifth ‘brother’, cousin William Adams who was raised alongside the Ball Boys and an influential ‘older’ brother.
Bill excelled in High School and graduated right after D-Day in 1944 when he was 17. He immediately joined the Navy and was about to be deployed to the Pacific. However, “at the last minute” (his words) he was sent to Officer School at Bucknell College. He thus became the first member of his family to attend College. His three brothers followed his lead and graduated from college along with advanced degrees.
When the war was over, Bill transferred to Purdue University thanks to the GI Bill to continue his interest in engineering. There he met Harriet Jones who was from Washington DC. They were married on July 27, 1948 right after he graduated.
Bill’s first job was with Sylvania near Altoona, Pa. His 3 daughters were born there, Catherine, Carol and Joanne. From there, he was recruited to the consulting firm, Booz, Allen, and Hamilton in Cleveland, OH. His son, William Jr. was born in Cleveland. Right after his birth, he and Harriet took an assignment in Milan Italy and moved the entire family there for 10 months. It was there that Bill was introduced to wine and became a wine enthusiast well before the trend reached the US.
Bill embarked upon an interesting and successful corporate career which involved many re-locations: Kansas City, Toledo, Ohio, St. Cloud MN, and finally Stamford, CT where he was Executive Vice President with General Signal. He especially enjoyed his time at President of DeZurick in St. Cloud where he stayed for 10 years. His career included constant travel which he enjoyed and he encouraged Harriet to join him whenever possible: sales meetings in Florida and Hawaii, trips to Australia and New Zealand and more. He and Harriet made many lifetime friends in the company and community everywhere they went.
Bill retired from General Signal in 1986 when he was 58 years old. He and Harriet re-located to Hendersonville, NC where they golfed, attended the many cultural events and traveled the world – from many return trips to Italy and Europe, China, Patagonia, Antarctica, Vietnam, to name a few. They took 1 or 2 trips per year. They also became involved with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Hendersonville, playing key roles in expanding the congregation from 30 to almost 200 at one time. Again, they made many like-minded friends and often enjoyed travels together.
Bill remained close to his family and friends all his life. Every year, they continued to visit Hawley to see the relatives and friends there. They kept lifelong friends: Harriet’s high school friends, former colleges, former neighbors, etc. – and arranged visits frequently.
In 2018, due to Harriet’s failing health, Bill and Harriet moved to a retirement community in Parker, Colorado – near the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Joanne and Andy Cohen. Harriet passed away on May 28, 2018. After that, Bill enjoyed the close relationship, care and weekly dinners from Joanne and Andy. And, the many visits from family who would stop in Colorado to see him.
Bill led a life of hard work, kindness, decency and support of his family, colleagues and friends. He is the embodiment of the “Greatest Generation” He was a life time learner and constantly read and studied – particularly religion, philosophy and history. When his macular degeneration precluded reading, he continued to learn through DVD’s and The Great Learning Courses. He watched the news and golf, and he was never happier than when football or baseball season came along. He was a touchstone to his family in analyzing current events with historical perspective.
He lived the Unitarian Universalist principals (see below) and respected the many cultures and religions of the world and all of the people that he met. He was a loving husband, father, son, brother, cousin, friend etc. He will live in many hearts and minds forever.
His Loving Family
The Unitarian Universalist Seven Principles
1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
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