William Albert Ball passed away peacefully early Tuesday morning, June 2, 2020, at the Laurel Health & Rehabilitation Center in Laurel, due to natural causes.
Bill was born during the Great Depression on Jan. 30, 1930, to his parents Adelbert and Luella Ball in Conrad. As the son of a Great Northern Railroad worker, the family moved regularly during his childhood, mainly amongst small railroad towns throughout Montana. He attended school in eight different communities, including Moccasin, Snowden, Stanford and Broadview. As Bill grew, he worked on the family farm in Power and graduated from Power High School in 1948. Afterwards, he began his collegiate work at Montana State College in Bozeman. After a few semesters and a severe teacher shortage caused by the Korean War, he was asked to teach school in the small community of Belmont. While there, he met his young bride, B. Luanna McBride, from Lavina, and they were married on Aug. 30, 1950.
Bill eventually received his bachelor’s degree in education from Rocky Mountain College. While at Rocky, he was very active in sports, becoming a starting pitcher for the Rocky Bears baseball team, where he went 15-0 during his career. Later, he was offered a professional Minor League contract, but chose to stay close to home with his new wife and young baby daughter Bonnie.
Upon graduating, Bill settled in with a teaching/coaching position in Whitehall. In the 1960-1961 school year, he coached his undefeated football team to the Western Divisional championship and his basketball team to a third-place finish in the State Class C Tournament. During his time in Whitehall, Bill spent summers pursuing his master’s degree at the University of Montana in Missoula. Afterwards, he was hired to be the superintendent of schools in Whitehall.
In 1966, Bill moved his family to Helena, taking a position as the state director of vocational education in the Office of Public Instruction, working under Harriet Miller, Superintendent of Schools. Later, he worked as Executive Director of the Advisory Council for Vocational Education, where he was instrumental in establishing the Vo-Tech schools in Montana.
Bill was a devoted priesthood member of the Community of Christ Church for most of his adult life. In 1981, he retired from his educational career and became an appointee for the church, providing administrative ministry in eight Southeast and Midwestern states. In 1994, he returned home to Montana, the land he loved, to help care for his aging mother. He also desired to be near family and friends. In addition, he enjoyed traveling and also spending time volunteering for Missoula Aging Services.
Bill loved his UM Grizzlies, cherished hunting, fishing, music, and held most dear his family and his Heavenly Father. He was a lover of life and touched the lives of so many in need of support and direction.
Bill is survived by his wife, Luanna, of 69 years; his five children, Bonnie Hanna (Cheney, Washington), Terry Ball (Billings), Jerry (Deborah) Ball (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin), Lou Anne (Rick) Christopher (Missoula), and Laurie Ball (Bill Graham) (Lake Saint Louis, Missouri); in-laws, Raymond McBride, Nellie Ball; grandchildren, Lenny (Shelly) Hahn, Jennifer (Greg) Butler, Christopher (Bri) O’Leary, Ryan O’Leary, Whitney Ball, Caitlin d’Esterre, Natalie Ball; and six great-grandchildren.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Dell and Luella; brothers George, Jack, Don, Adelbert Jr.; sister Wandella; in-laws Clifford McBride, Melva McBride, Veda McBride Hentz and Nora Ball.
Due to Covid-19 pandemic concerns, memorial services will be announced and held at a later date.
Suggested memorials: In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in memory of William Ball to any of the following organizations:
Community of Christ International Headquarters, 1001 W. Walnut, Independence, MO 64050
Dementia Society of America, PO Box 600, Doylestown, PA 18901, or online www.DemetiaSociety.org/donate
The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to the many friends and loved ones who provided love, prayers and support to Bill, shared over these past days, months and years. We also thank the caring staffs and caregivers at the following facilities:
Grizzly Peaks- Missoula
Auberge Assisted Living- Missoula
Laurel Health/Rehab Center- Laurel
Stillwater Hospice- Billings
Community of Christ Church- Members and World Church
And the Master said…
“WELL DONE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT”