A cherished framed photograph has been prominently displayed in every home in which I have lived since graduating from Whitman in 1967. The photograph depicts a group of students, which included myself, being led by Dr. Ball among others in a march to the court house in Walla Walla.  We were sharing our outrage at the attacks on the Selma to Montgomery marchers led by Martin Luther King and others in March of 1965.

While this piece of history has become part of the iconic imagery that is a major thread in the fabric of American life, in its day it was controversial and viewed with skepticism, and even hostility. There was never any doubt that George Ball would join us “rabble rousers.”  There was always that quiet but unshakable commitment to principles of justice.  He lived it and transmitted it to those of us lucky enough to be in his life.

He managed to impart this aura without bombast or pedantry.  With him, it just was, and you felt it; and it never left you.  It made you want to emulate that spirit.

His personal warmth and vitality also inspired me.  As so many have noted in their tributes, he made you feel cared for and special whenever you sought his advice or simply spent time in his presence.

My life was deeply enriched by having known and experienced the life force that IS Dr. George Ball.


Wesley Schroeder ’67