William H. Ball, a fifth-generation Rye resident and a man who left a rich legacy of service to his community, died of natural causes at the age of 94 on December 20, 2019.
Born in 1925, he was the son of Anna and Rye Police Sergeant Cornelius F. Balls and grandson of Chief William H. Balls.
He attended the newly constructed Resurrection Elementary School, and, upon graduating from Rye High School in 1943, enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served in Patton’s Third Army as a forward observer for A Battery of the 81st Field Artillery. For their actions in France, Belgium (Ardennes forest during the push to Bastogne and the broader Battle of the Bulge), Luxembourg, and ultimately Germany, his unit received numerous citations for valor from Generals Marshall, Middleton, and Eisenhower.
His easygoing, friendly manner belied the fact that he had met and survived the greatest challenges of the 20th century – from the hardship of the Great Depression to the horror of war.
After returning home, he reconnected with Constance White, a 1945 Rye High graduate. They were married in 1949.
Over the next six decades, Mr. Ball served two terms on the City Council; 18 years on the Rye Town Park Commission; and 12 years on the Rye Golf Club Commission. For more than 60 years, he was a member of the Rye Fire Department and ex-chief of the Poningo Hook & Ladder Company. He was also a 40-year member, and past president of the Rye Lions Club, a longtime member of American Legion Post 128, and a District Leader of the Rye Republican Party.
His 40-year professional career began at the (now defunct) Third Avenue Bus Company, but was spent primarily with the New York Telephone Company, where he experienced the Bell System’s transformation to Nynex, then Bell Atlantic, then ultimately AT&T.
As a young man, he caddied at the Apawamis Club and worked as a lifeguard at both the old Oakland Beach Pool and Westchester Country Club’s Beach Club.
Having been taught the game by his father Corny during the hickory shaft era, he had a lifelong passion for golf, and he and his wife Connie played countless rounds together at Rye Golf and beyond.
“Bill was in every sense a son of Rye, and with his passing we have lost a remarkable civic and institutional memory,” said his family.
He was predeceased by his wife Connie and his sisters Ann, Jeanne, and Betty. He is survived by his brother Neil (Bucky); daughters Barbara (McHugh), Corinne, and Diane (Brendel); and sons Dave and Andy. He leaves behind 11 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, all of whom will miss him eternally.
A Mass of Christian burial was held December 27 at Resurrection Church, of which he was a lifelong member.