Published in The Washington Post on Nov. 21, 2014
WILLIAM R. BALL COL, USMC (Ret.) On Tuesday, November 18, 2014.
COL William "Bill" Russel Ball passed away peacefully in
Coronado, CA after a long, courageous battle with
Parkinson's disease. He was 81.
Bill is survived by his wife Donna; his former wife, Mary J.
Henderson and their children, William R. Ball, Jr., Wendy
Ailor, Mary Johnson, and Alexandra O'Brien and 10
grandchildren. He is also survived by his step-daughter,
Tiffany Miller and her two children as well as his sisters Laura
Hieb and Claudia Callas.
Bill was born on December 28, 1932 in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from Western
High School in Washington, DC (1951), and from the United States Naval Academy in
1955. As a Marine officer, he had a distinguished career that included assignments
around the globe. He learned Russian at the Defense Language School and later served
as an Intelligence Officer based in West Berlin, Germany. Other notable assignments
included the Marine Barracks in Washington DC, Marine Detachment Commander on the
USS Bon Homme Richard during the Vietnam War, serving as an infantry battalion
commander and regimental commander in the 2nd Marine Division, and Director of the
Marine Corps' Command and Staff College at Quantico, VA. He later founded the Marine
Corps Command and Staff Foundation, which furthers the professional military education
of Marines worldwide, and served on its board from 1980 until 2008. He retired as a
Colonel in 1981 after 26 years of distinguished service.
He then joined Oppenheimer Industries, an American Stock Exchange company,
becoming CEO and Chairman of the Board. He later joined United Missouri Bank as
Head of Institutional Trust Investments. He was a member and former treasurer of the
Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church, Coronado, CA. Prior to and in retirement, Bill
served as a board member for several foundations, charitable organizations, museums,
Bill was an avid and excellent golfer. Throughout his life, even after his Parkinson's
diagnosis, he was eternally optimistic and lived life to the fullest, enjoying, and bringing
joy to his extended family and many friends.
Family and friends will be welcomed to celebrate a life well lived on Bill's birthday,
Sunday afternoon, December 28, 2014 in Coronado, CA.
Interment is planned for a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.
A tribute has been set up in Bill's memory to be directed towards the Graduate Medical
Education program at Scripps Green Hospital. Gifts in the form of checks can be sent to
the following address: Scripps Health Foundation, P.O. Box 2669 La Jolla, CA
92038-2669. Note in memo In Honor of William Ball; donations can also be made over
the phone by calling Sharon Wirth at (858) 678-7182.