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Obituary for Robert Morris Ball
Robert Morris Ball, age 89, of Caldwell, Ohio, died Monday, March 23, 2009, at his home. He was born August 19, 1919, in Middleburg, son of the late Edmund and Elizabeth Rhodes Ball. The family moved to East Street in Caldwell in 1920. He was a 1937 graduate of Caldwell High School, and he was a member of the Caldwell Redskins Hall of Fame, He was a World War II Army veteran, having served from 1941-1945. He entered at Fort Hayes, Ohio, and was initially assigned to the 355th Searchlight Battalion, which protected Washington, D.C. from enemy aircraft. His unit was later relocated to North Africa, until he was reassigned to the 5th Army 61st Military Police Company stationed at Lake Garda, Italy, which was responsible for protecting General Lucian Truscott, Commander 5th Army. Later, Mr. Ball served as a driver for General Mark Clark, Commander of the Allied Forces in Italy. His unit also escorted Prince Umberta of Italy to the front along with German generals who came to finalize the peace accord in Italy. He was discharged in 1945 after serving in campaigns in North Africa, Rome-Arno, North Apennines, Po Valley, and Southern France. Mr. Ball was co-owner of the family farm, Spring Hill Woodlands, LLC, south of Caldwell. He raised purebred polled Hereford cattle for 20 years, and he was a past member of the Buckeye Polled Hereford Association. In 1966, he became the first park manager of Wolf Run State Park, retiring in 1982 from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation. In 1984, he was inducted into the Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame. Mr. Ball served on the Noble Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors for three terms, and was a district cooperator since 1955. He chaired the West Fork of Duck Creek Public Law 566 Steering Committee that lead to the planning and construction of Wolf Run Lake and the upgrading of Caldwell Reservoir to provide additional downstream flood protection and additional public water supply. He was also a member of the Farmers Home Administration Farm Loan Committee. He was an active member of the Noble County Fair Board, and he was the first caretaker at the Noble County Fairgrounds. He served as the caretaker for the Thorla-McKee well located in Olive, known as ?First Oil Well in America.? He was a recipient of the Governor?s Arbor Day Award. Mr. Ball was a member of the Caldwell United Methodist Church, and with his wife, Mary Ann, owned and restored the Ball-Caldwell House historic home on East Street, and they were life members of the Noble County Historical Society. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his wife, Mary Ann Weaver Ball, whom he married December 25, 1942, and who died June 5, 1995; five sisters, Thurley Ball, Grace Ball, Bernice Wittlinger, Clarice Wetherell, and Vera Keene; and four brothers, Harry, Merwin, Richard, and Carroll Ball. Surviving are a son, Robert E. (Lenore) Ball of Columbia, Missouri; and two grandchildren, Alan Ball of Columbia, Missouri, and Laura Ball of Orlando, Florida. Friends may call Thursday, March 26, 2009, from 2-4 and 6-8PM at McVay-Perkins Funeral Home, 416 East Street, Caldwell, where the funeral service will be observed Friday, March 27th at 11AM. Burial will follow at Olive Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Noble County Historical Society, P.O. Box 128, Caldwell, Ohio, 43724, or the Noble Soil and Water Conservation District, 18506 State Route 78, Caldwell, Ohio, 43724.