Alumni Remember Dr. George Ball
Colleen Willoughby ’55
Whitman College has lost a legend. Whitman will not ever be quite the same. His sense of morality, fairness, curiosity, respect and universal love touched generations of our graduates, and these attributes will be carried with them for generations forward. I will always see him riding his bicycle across campus, carefree as spring and always with a broad smile on his face. Those of us who were privileged to know him, have been blessed. Warm thoughts are sent to his widow, Nancy. With admiration and affection.
Junius Rochester ’57
Although George is remembered by many as an always accessible advisor-in-chief, my clearest memories of him are as his partner or opponent on the Whitman tennis courts. Despite his relatively small stature and the inevitable challenges of aging, George loved tennis and swung his racquet with enthusiasm and joy. Even when he whiffed an easy one, his smile would appear and he was ready to go again.
William G. "Bill" Hartwell ’61
It is with great sadness that I received notice of Dr. Ball's passing. Although I was not a personal student of his, he often talked with me about music. Whether in the library or, once in the evening as I returned, whistling, to my home at the Beta house, he was always, and ever, for every student who ever attended our wonderful college. I shall miss him dearly, as I know thousands of the academic community will.
Clay King ’61
Dr. Ball married my wife Edie Bradford and me at the Presbyterian Church in Walla Walla near the college on Feb. 3, 1962. He performed a wonderful and memorable ceremony. We were very appreciative of him doing that. Edie then came with me to The University of Arizona, where I obtained my master's degree in economics and she earned her B.A. in education, both degrees conferred in 1964. I taught for three years after that at Chico State (1964-67) in CA and she taught 4th grade at Stanford Elementary in Oroville nearby. I earned my Ph.D. in Economics from Washington State University in 1972. Overall, I taught college/university economics for 35 years in Arizona, California and North Dakota. Edie passed away from cancer in 1990 at age 46. Dr. Ball was indeed a very caring and decent person. I appreciate his efforts even more since I was a college teacher like him. It was an honorable profession in which to serve and he served Whitman well. He'll be in my thoughts forever. Thanks Dr. Ball.
Barbara Withers ’61
I was a senior when he came to campus, and he touched my life greatly. He remembered me when I spoke to him at our 40th reunion. I didn't have a chance to speak to Dr. Ball last May at our 50th reunion, but caught a glimpse of him riding his bicycle down Boyer Avenue. Many good memories.
Roger S. Williams '62
It was the fall of 1961. I thought it would be a good thing to take a course on religion, pretty safe, not too boring and probably an easy three credits. I struck out on all three! It was not "safe" because Dr. Ball insisted that I think! This was no kind of course I had ever had before and it was not boring – more the opposite. Yes, more like an historical, intellectual and philosophical roller coaster ride. Added to that Dr. Ball's lectures were not like listening to a child doing piano drills. They were like listening to a piano concerto; informative, entertaining and challenging. Oh! And about the easy credits? I think I worked harder in Dr. Ball's class than almost any other. In short, Dr. Ball was an inspiration to me and I am grateful for his witness and ministry.
Noll Anne Cunningham Gayre ’64
At a reunion over 25 years ago, a group of us were talking with Dr. Ball and as we parted we said, "See you at the next reunion!" His reply: “Well, I can't guarantee that.” But he nearly did.
Mary Little Cutting ’64 (Attended freshman and sophomore year; UW Graduate ’64)
Sitting in the back of the Dr. Ball’s Religion 101 class in September of 1960 when I was a freshman soon was not good enough.
I wanted to be closer to his words, so I moved up near the front. His words have stuck with me all through my adult life. I returned to Whitman in July of 2010 after 48 years. Dr. Ball was one of the teachers I wanted to see (I did not get a chance to). He will be missed, but he always will be present in the lives of those he touched.
Russ Dondero ’64, Professor Emeritus, Pacific University
George Ball opened up the world of religion to this campus "Marxist," which made theology less sectarian and more inclusive through his reading list: Martin Buber, Ludwig Feuerbach and Paul Tillich. Later on Dr. Ball supported me as I sought CO status from my draft board in Oregon. But like Dr. Ball, life has forced me to reassess my ideological proclivities without giving up my commitment to social justice. Dr. Ball's personal warmth as a human being shined through his life making each of his students feel valued and important. I am so glad that my friend and fellow alum Ward Mowry and I were able to visit with Dr. Ball last June for what turned out to be our last time together. Dr. Ball was both graceful and full of grace in all he did for Whitman students. Whitties through all generations will always remember Dr. Ball riding his bicycle on campus and/or watching the tennis team! But what alums and parents of alums will remember the most was his kindness and caring. He was one of a kind. Hopefully those of us who were blessed with knowing him will continue to reflect a bit of his grace.
Judith Bannon Snow ’65
George Ball has been a mentor, spiritual guide, and dear friend to me since first meeting him at the age of seventeen. As well as having him as an inspirational professor during my first semester at Whitman, I had the great honor to be included in the second year of Dr. Ball’s iconic cell group. It was a magical time in my life; it was an enduring gift that George and Nancy gave me and the others in the group, welcoming us into their home every Tuesday evening with a bowl of apples, paper snowflakes, and intense, thought-provoking discussions. George has been a part of my life in a multitude of ways, both happy and sad, over five decades. I found it beautiful and moving that George, always with abiding hope for the future, should die in the first moments of a new year.
Tobe Jensen ’65
I cannot imagine a better human being, standing up for all of our humanity. Dr. Ball represented truth to power. Probably not how he was perceived by his students but in his life before he came to Whitman, which I researched in a tribute to him when the class of 1965 dedicated a scholarship in his honor. Not only did he have courage most of us would honor, but he was the most ego-free man I have ever known. If you wanted to see love in action and a sense of a oneness with the earth, it was Dr. Ball. I would put him up with Ghandi.
Dean R. Lambe ’65
The Buddha had a distant cousin. His name was George Ball. George pointed us to the Tree of Enlightenment, and helped it grow in the hearts of thousands. George is not gone, merely transcended. We stand humbled in his memory, watching that bicycle roll on his eternal path.
Craig Olson ’65
Neither at Whitman nor at any time in my life have I ever been a morning person. But I never missed the 8 a.m. class I took from Dr. Ball on the History of the Christian Church. He always started his lecture with a joke, so you didn’t want to be late lest you miss it. From there, the lecture itself was always one of the highlights of my intellectual week. What a teacher!! What a man!! Dr. Ball, we will sorely miss you.
Ann Furukawa Dondero ’66
Dr. George Ball – an exceptional person has left an exceptional legacy for those of us who had the opportunity to be at Whitman during the decades of his tenure, whether or not we participated in a cell group, had a class, heard him speak, sought his person counsel, or in some rare cases never even met him. I do not know anyone who didn't know who Dr. Ball was and didn't feel that he was a remarkable person who understood the world as it is, yet proceeded with a gentle, thoughtful, positive outlook on life and hope for what the world could be. We kept in touch for five decades through cards, letters, email and on our occasional visits to Whitman. He has been a friend to and influence on two generations of our family and will live on with us in our hearts, memories and the way we live our lives. Thank you to the Ball family for sharing him with us.
Bob Wallace ’66
There are so many things to say about George as a teacher and a man. The most obvious thing in my case is that he, along with Thomas Howells, inspired me to become a college teacher. Like each of them, I have stayed in one place: I am now completing my fortieth year as professor of English at Northern Kentucky University.
George’s warmth was evident to all who knew him, but those of us who took classes from him will never forget his brilliance of mind. I took his Introduction to Religion course as a freshman and it was there that I really began to learn to think. Many of the profound questions he raised in that course remain for me unanswered. Fortunately, I belong to an Episcopal church that allows me to sing in the choir even though I am a spiritual seeker.
At the end of my freshman year I was invited to join the famous cell group that met on Sunday nights in George and Nancy’s living room. I had no idea what I was getting into, and I was literally tongue-tied when they welcomed me by asking, “Bob, tell us who you are.” Until that night, I had been unreflective about myself as a person.
During my last semester at Whitman I was unsure whether go to law school or to grad school in literature, so I applied to both. I finally decided on Harvard Law School and put my acceptance letter in the big mail box on Boyer. Minutes later, I happened to encounter Dr. Ball on the quad. He could sense I was still troubled about this decision, and asked if their deadline would give me any longer to think it over. I did have more time, so I went back to the mail box, waited for the mail man to come, convinced him to retrieve my letter for me, thought about things for one week more, and chose a different life path.
Rich Wallace ’66
I remember Dr. Ball for his love of life. He was a blessing to everyone he came in contact with and to me. He epitomized what Whitman stood for. Thanks Dr. Ball.
Stephen K. Farrand ’67
Dr. Ball was a hallmark of Whitman College. He made you feel good just to be around him. When I envision the college, it is with him cruising by on his bicycle. He will be greatly missed.
Sandy Savage Milewski ’67
Dr. Ball was a very special man. He remembered names and always had a smile for everyone. Just passing him on the way to class could lift a person's spirits. We have been so blessed by him, and now I am sure he is blessing those in Heaven.
Ahmed Rhazoui, Ph.D.’68
Back in the mid-1960s, Whitman was vastly different from its current mix of students from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. In those days, the handful of exchange students on campus stood up as a mere curiosity. The predominant culture was overwhelmingly "waspy" and conformist. As one of two Muslims on campus, I could have easily given in to the pressure to melt into the prevailing culture. But my contact with Dr. Ball changed all that. His belief in the universality of the human spirit and his ability to find the common thread that runs through Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism...demonstrated that religion is the expression of everyone's quest for spirituality and communion no matter what path is taken. To me, that’s the greatest legacy of Dr. Ball. May he rest in peace.
Ian Lind ’69 and Meda Chesney-Lind ’69
When Meda was invited to give the 2011 Commencement speech at Whitman in May, we didn’t get around to building Dr. Ball into our tight schedule. It didn’t matter. He found us. That was the way he was. We were in our room at the Marcus Whitman Hotel the day after graduation when the phone rang. We looked at each other. Who could that be? It was Dr. Ball, calling from downstairs in the lobby. He had been there for Meda’s speech and wanted to connect. So he tracked down where they college had stashed us, then got on his bicycle and pedaled over to see us. We spent time talking with him in the hotel lobby, and I managed to capture snippets on my iPhone video. https://www.youtube.com/ilind
Tom Evans ’70
He was, after all, a good teacher. What could have been more important than that. There have been many times, since I came to know him when and where I would have been lost, but for what I heard him say it’s not that I need a hero something he never asked to be. It’s just life is hard and he, gave me a place to find me.
Peter Graham Ashbaugh '71
I was a student of George Ball in the second semester 1970 and last spoke with him at the Class Reunion in 2007. Even though I live in Germany now and do not receive the quarterly magazine, I do appreciate your letting me know of his passing. He was a good man and did much for me while I was at Whitman. I still thought that maybe I might see him once more while visiting the campus. He seemed, when I saw him, to be quite healthy still, and since my partner's father is now 97 and still going strong, I had hoped to still see George AGAIN on my next visit. My condolences to his wife and family. I will remember him ALWAYS.
Scott Hickman, '71
Back in 1967, this wide-eyed freshman arrived at Whitman, pre-enrolled in an Intro Religion class taught by George Ball. Little did I know of the lasting impression George Ball would have on my four years at Whitman. Little did I know of the influence this man's optimism, intelligence, empathy, and wisdom would have on the rest of my life. At last April’s reunion, I spotted Dr. Ball leaving Mem on his trusty bicycle. I hurried over. We chatted and talked and even reminisced about the turbulent times of the late ’60s. Since that meeting, I've told many people the chance encounter with Dr. Ball was a high point of that reunion. Now, that meeting means even more. Dr. Ball was far more than an excellent teacher. Like so many others, I count Dr. Ball as my counselor, my advisor, my sounding board, and always, my friend. He was everyone’s friend. What finer tribute?
Godspeed, Dr. Ball, and thank you.
Kathy See Kennedy ’71
I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Ball. I took classes from Dr. Ball, and was in the discussion group he held in his home, between 1968 and 1970. He was a stellar teacher and an inspiration for living an engaged, responsible and authentic life. While he fully acknowledged and sought to understand the darker sides of human nature and the political sphere, he somehow was able to maintain at the same time an uplifted and hopeful spirit. His example modeled a way of being in the world that is both realistic and inspired. Dr. Ball was one of the few people I have met through the years who seemed to be lighted from within.
I will miss him, but he has left a heritage that will endure in the hearts and minds of all who were fortunate enough to know him. Thank you, Dr. Ball!
Ann and Andy Evans ’74
George Ball has inspired generations of us to live more fully, to live consciously. He taught us to build foundations as young adults, and continued to challenge us decades later with his discussions of peace, equanimity, and contentment. George shared with us a poem which expresses so many of his views and teaching, and has become a model for our approach to life.
Sandy and Chris McDade ’74
One of my favorite anecdotes about Dr. Ball happened just yesterday (1/27/12). I was in the office of a work colleague who told me he was trying to find the spring schedule for the Whitman women's lacrosse team. His daughter is a junior and on the team. My friend told me that his daughter was a bit sad at the passing of a retired Whitman professor she had gotten to know over the past two years. She first met him on his morning visits to Sherwood Center, where she worked. She enjoyed their cheery conversations and worried greatly when he headed off in the snow on his bicycle. My friend never met Dr. Ball, so his story reflected entirely what he had been told by his daughter. She and her friends enjoyed visiting this retired professor in the office he still maintained on campus. His stories were wonderful, although you did tend to hear the same three on each visit. They really just enjoyed spending time with this special man and experiencing his warm and loving spirit.
At the end of the story I of course told my friend that Chris and I first got acquainted in this professor's religion class in 1970, that he had married us in 1975, and that what he remembered about our wedding was that our sister-in-law, a modern dancer, had performed as part of the ceremony. He was still talking about that 30 years later, and 40 years after we heard our first story from The New York Times in Religion 101, he was still touching the lives of Whitman students. Incredible.
Sally (Call) Sibson ’74
Dr. Ball was not a preacher, but I learned more from him about intelligent Christianity than from many preachers I have heard before or since. He was not a pastor, but his care for students was pastoral, on the model of The Good Shepherd. He definitely WAS a great teacher. His lectures were legendary for very good reasons, but his best teaching was not done in the classroom. As young people, we watched him live the authentic Christian life. We wanted to be with him. We wanted to be like him. We never wanted it to end. Sometimes as people get older, their world view becomes less and less relevant to those who follow, but not in this case. We need Dr Ball’s passion for clear thinking, kindness, tolerance for differing views, and acceptance of mystery just as much now as we did 40 years ago – perhaps more. “Often quoted, never forgotten, blessed by his love and care.”
Clair Enlow ’75
Although I was not among his star students, my memories of George Ball span 35 years. They begin when he preached at the Congregational Church my parents attended in Pasco and convinced them (and me) I should go to Whitman. My last memory is from 2005, when I was attending my class's 30th reunion. I was walking along a few blocks from campus when I noticed an elderly someone maneuvering his bicycle into a small patch of open space. His mission finally unfolded – he was there to capture a small piece of trash, which he grabbed and put into his basket to carry off. Only then did I recognize Dr. Ball. I'm not sure he recognized me. But I recognized a person who lived what he believed, and sustained himself and others in that.
Marise K. Johnson ’75, M.D.
If you didn’t take his comparative religions class, you missed out, on a greater and unbiased understanding of the cultures around us. He had a gift and he shared it with us.
Wendy Sanger McGuire ’77
How many of us remember much of the classes that we took almost 40 years ago? I took one class from Dr. Ball, Religions of the World, and I can still recall entire sections of his lectures as if I were sitting in the class now. I truly learned life lessons on every level, too many to mention. When I saw Dr. Ball at a reunion, I reminded him that I used to kind of bounce when I walked around campus, and I usually had a big smile. I remember him racing towards me on his bike, and yelling out as he passed “I don’t know what it is, but whatever it is, I’m all for it!” That reaction kept me smiling and bouncing for many years. When I joined the military, it was at a time when the Army did not have a reputation for cultivating or attracting great minds. It comforted me to remember that Dr. Ball had been a chaplain in the military. I’m thankful that someone who so abhorred war gave us the tools to fight a good fight – against prejudice, injustice and ignorance wherever we found them. And as I have traveled all over the world, I remain profoundly grateful to recognize in every shrine, temple, mosque and church some manifestation of the Golden Rule that Dr. Ball taught us all religions have in common.
Paul Shearer ’77
There are three men who were the most important role models in my life. They shaped my character, endowed me with confidence, and showed me the meaning of love. Those three men were my grandfather, my father, and George Ball.
As a freshman I took Dr. Ball's World Religions course. I can honestly say it did more than anything else I've read or experienced to shape my views on religion. My fondest memories of Dr. Ball are of him riding his bike around campus with his male Samoyed dog. I had a male German Shepard and whenever we saw each other, we would make sure our dogs were under control. They never developed a liking of each other unfortunately, so Dr. Ball and I never could enjoy a friendly chat when the pooches were around.
Sara Glenn Tylosky ’78
When I first met Dr. George Ball, he seemed old but really he wasn't; we were just young, because that was, well, over 30 years ago! I met Dr. Ball initially not in one of his classes, but on the tennis courts. He was buddies with Bob Burgess, the former tennis coach, and since I played both singles and doubles for the women's tennis team, I often got pulled into an “extra” game with faculty members, of which Dr. Ball had as much zeal on the court as he did in the classroom. His name suits him well....because he bounced around like the Energizer bunny and yet always challenged us Whitties to thirst about the larger than life issues. Thank you Dr. Ball for being in our lives!
Barbara Ellis-Sugai ’79
Between 1975 and 1979 I took three classes from Dr. Ball. I remember he would always start the hour by reading an interesting article he’d clipped from The New York Times to the class, even if it had nothing to do with the day’s subject. I credit him, along with other great professors at Whitman, with teaching me the art of critical thinking, which has served me well in life. He didn’t care which side of a question you chose, as long as you could logically defend your position. I appreciated the time he took to go to lunch with me and a friend to discuss Asian religion and philosophy. I was amazed that he remembered me when I went to my 25th reunion, and we had a warm conversation. I feel very privileged that I had the chance to learn from him.
Andrew Fuller ’80
What I will always remember about Dr. Ball is his reading a clipping from The New York Times at the beginning of each Introduction to Religion class, which invariably presented a new and interesting thought or viewpoint. Also that he was the first person who taught me what Deism, Pantheism, and Monotheism were, and where the ideas of our founding fathers fit in this system of categorization. His class was filled with profundities that stay with me until this day.
Melissa Mebane Hambleton ’80
A month after Dr. Ball's death, I am still trying to put into words, in an adequate and coherent way, exactly how to sum up one of the greatest men I have ever known. Dr. Ball personified “The Whitman Experience.” He was always considerate, friendly, open-hearted, intellectually challenging, and forward-thinking. I never saw him looking down or to the side, both literally and figuratively. Instead, he entered a room with a smile of anticipation, rode his bike with gleeful joy, and greeted everyone with a warm twinkle in his eye.
Having greatly enjoyed his classes, I realize that, above all, he taught us about love. Not only the love for all people, but also the love in a personal relationship –“Always take a long car trip together, to assess compatibility.” Walking hand-in-hand with his wife Nancy, he taught a powerful lesson about enduring love.
We are all so fortunate to have been blessed by the presence of true greatness. Thank you, Dr. Ball.
Russ Peck ’80
Dr. Ball was truly one-of-a-kind. I have quoted bits and pieces from his lectures many times over the years to friends and family. I feel very blessed to have crossed his path (with him careening by on his old bike, of course).
Mike Callaway ’81
As a student in 1979, I was involved in Phi Delta Theta, struggling to survive first an English major and then history before getting the bug from the Drama Department in my junior year, and adjusting to campus life with a lot of issues. Religion was not on my radar at all. I took one course in the Religion Department and it was when Dr. Ball was on sabbatical and we had a visiting professor. During my entire time at Whitman I never even had a single conversation with Dr. Ball, but knew him from other people as a good, kind and gracious man. One day, shortly after his return to the campus, I was walking across Ankeny, when this seemingly unremarkable man rode past me on his bicycle. I knew who he was, of course, and I was completely floored when he waved and said “Hi, Mike!” and rode on. I cannot imagine how on earth he even knew who I was, but I was amazed that he had taken the time, made the effort, whatever, to know the names of people who didn’t even come to his classes, much less share his ideology and to greet them warmly. He was part of the Whitman Family and he cared about all of the members of that family. It was a great lesson about human nature and I’ve never forgotten that small moment with a great man. I only knew him in passing, but I’ll miss him along with everyone else.
Lora Cazier ’83
I can thank three Whitman professors for making me the person I've been for the last 45 years; George Ball, Art Remple and W. W. Soper. Although Whitman will always have a place in my heart, it’s not quite the same now with all of them gone.
Kathy (Anderson) Pompeo ’83
Dr. Ball was such a major part of the Whitman College experience I can’t imagine that he’s gone. I was lucky enough to have him for a basic religion class (Religion 11 or 101 as it came to be called.) I still have the blue book from the first mid-term where one of the questions was “Prove that there is a God.” I did a mathematical proof (this was one of my 8 of 11 classes and I wasn’t a philosophy major but rather a math major) showing the base angels of an isosceles triangle are equal. Ending with “therefore there is a distinct order to the world; therefore there is a God.” He wrote that it was one of the most original answers he’d had to this question in all his time at Whitman to date (this was in 1980) and he’d had to go to the math department to see if the proof was correct. It is one of my fondest memories of Whitman and still brings a smile to my face when I think about it. I can’t imagine a time on campus where he wasn’t riding around on his bike, stopping to talk to anyone that he felt needed or appeared to need a quick boost. He always had a smile and a wave for every student he saw, whether s/he was in or had been in one of his classes or not. Once he met you he never forgot your name or those little things about you that made Whitman seem like home. Even when Alumni came back, he’d remember something about you and stop and say hello. He will truly be missed by all that his life touched.
Beth (Beaulaurier) Walsh ’83
I grew up knowing Dr. Ball and having his wife as one of my 5th grade teachers. Their sons were big boys who tolerated the likes of me and my brothers. They were family friends with whom I explored the hills of Kooskooskie and did some of my earliest hiking and nature exploring. Having numerous summer jobs at Whitman and playing a lot of tennis, I often encountered Dr. Ball on his bike and on the old Whitman courts. Being a Townie, it was surprising to arrive on campus my freshman year and learn that the nice man I'd known was a stunning teacher and positive, daily campus presence. Even more interesting to me was that Dr. Ball had been recognized as such through decades of teaching and serving entire Whitman community. Who knew that he was beloved by so many? Dr. Ball, for to me he will never be "George," was my comforter during an especially traumatic first semester of classes, the purveyor of many radiant smiles and warm hugs, and to the end, a dear family friend.
Baodi Zhou ’83 and Zhen Zhou ’93
We were deeply saddened to learn that our beloved Dr. George Ball had passed away. We have lost a most loving and spirit-lifting friend and mentor. His noble spirit influenced all people who came to know him. His boundless love warmed many hearts and uplifted many souls. He was a model of ethic and good value. Through him and his loving wife, Nancy Ball, we got to know the true spirit of universal love, which is so rare and valuable in this world. He touched so many lives, including ours, who were members of the Whitman-China program from Yunnan University. We have benefited so much from his love and care that our lives have changed for the better by gaining strength from his example. We miss him dearly. We give our deep condolence to Mrs. Nancy Ball, whose love and support helped make George Ball who he was. Peace be with him. On behalf of all Whitman-China program members from Yunnan University
Paul Devine ’84
George was my advisor at Whitman as well as teacher and friend.
He used to ride his old bike all over campus. When I was a senior we were having an auction to raise money for our senior gift to the school. I asked George if he would donate his bike to the auction. I could tell that he loved that old bike but quietly said he would be happy to give it to us as he wanted to help his students. I just could not get myself to take it after seeing the look on his face. That bike and George got a lot more miles on them before they were finished. God bless a great man!
Barbie Cunningham ’86
I played basketball and have an economics degree from the class of 1986. Dr. Ball was my Senior Colloquium professor and I always remembered his kindness. I was very shy speaking in class; my name came up one day, so sensing this, he helped me lead the class discussion and he also showed I could stretch myself and comfort zone. Don't remember the book we were reading, but doesn't matter. Such fond, appreciative, memories. A great loss for the Whitman.
Hazel Bhang Barnett ’88
Dr. Ball lived a "well-lived" life that was filled with love, compassion, and integrity. Dr. Ball was one of the main reasons I picked Whitman over other colleges and universities. As a prospective student visiting Whitman, I remember sitting in his freshman Great Works class in 1984, where he and the class discussed the concept of love in Freud's Civilization and Its Discontent. Right there then, I wanted to be a part of Dr. Ball's sphere of knowledge, wisdom and love. Later, I was privileged to take courses taught by Dr. Ball. And much later, Dr. Ball performed my marriage ceremony to my late husband, Mike Barnett. Dr. Ball personified integrity and compassion; he gave himself and his wisdom generously and openly. He shall be missed though his spirit and example will live on in so many Whitties, including myself. My deepest sympathy and condolences to his wife and family.
Marsee (Banks) Smith ’95
Dr. Ball was my freshman year adviser. I still remember our warm meetings in the basement of Memorial Hall. Always smiling, he had kind words of encouragement for me as I settled into my four-year journey at Whitman. I count myself blessed to have known him, not just as the Whitman legacy on a bicycle, riding around campus, but as my friend. Dr. Ball, thank you so much for starting me off on the right track, for your words of wisdom, your kindness and hugs. You're one of a kind. Sincere thanks and love to you.
Alison Granier ’02
Blossoming cherry trees, large crisp apples, snowflakes, soda cans.....only a few of the items that evoke fond memories of Dr. Ball on a near-weekly basis. What a special professor, mentor, human being – living his life with a purposefulness uncommonly observed. My relationship with Dr. Ball was one of the most treasured gifts I received from Whitman. It was a marvel to witness him living everyday life embodying the very ethic/spirituality/morality that he invited you to explore during his course on religion. I had the privilege of spending Sunday afternoons with both George and Nancy as part of a small student discussion group, and remember this as a formative Whitman experience. It was a welcome respite every week from college life to sit in their comfortable living room eating apples and engaging in thought-provoking discussions with fellow students with whom I rarely otherwise crossed paths. Dr. Ball will be dearly missed, but the celebration of his life is a truly joyous occasion and I am certain he will live on in the generations of students he has influenced so profoundly.
When I was a freshman at Whitman and when the days were hard and I felt defeated or lonely, it never failed, Dr. Ball would whip by on his bicycle, smiling and wish me a good day. I never had a class with him, but I remember him better than most of my professors
Molly (Ackley) Cook
In 1965, Dr. Ball officiated at my wedding to Charles (Chuck) Ackley ’47, then Alumni Director at Whitman. It was a second marriage for us both, so we had a simple and small ceremony in our home but it meant the world to Chuck to have Dr. Ball with us. I still remember Dr. Ball's generous spirit, his kind words and his benevolent smile. I know he shared that generosity, kindness and benevolence with so many. We are all better for time spent in his presence.
Tom (attended 1968-70) and Virginia (Swenson) Leinart
Here pedaled Dr. Ball, black clerical robe billowing around him in his final approach to our hippie wedding in Pioneer Park: June 19, 1971. Despite our home-grown vows, he must have said something powerful – it took! Forty years . . . and counting. God bless you all at this time of remembrance.