Clara Gertrude Ball age 69 formerly of Ferndale and a teacher who dearly loved her profession died Monday at her home in Reading Mich. Mrs. Ball was born in Nashville Tenn. on January 30 1941 to Paul and Louise Medlin Vaughn. She attended elementary and high schools in Nashville and Kingston Springs Tenn. and was a 1963 graduate of Austin Peay State College in Clarksville Tenn. with a degree in education. She answered a recruiter's call and took a teaching post in Garden City Mich. for a few months before moving on to Detroit. She taught high school English from 1963 to 1998 mostly at Murray Wright High School. She married Robert S. Ball a long-time reporter at the Daily Tribune in Royal Oak on April 17 1971. She took a few years off after her daughter Bethany was born in 1972. Mrs. Ball received a master's degree in education from Oakland University in 1981 and attended virtually every teacher training workshop available to her. After 30 years of teaching she and her husband Robert S. Ball retired to their cottage in Reading in 1998. Mrs. Ball began substitute teaching in Hillsdale-area schools eventually taking a full-time post at Sauk Trail Academy. It was a challenging job for a high school teacher but with an extra reward: The children learned and gave her hugs. She taught poetry writing at the Hillsdale County Senior Services Center and recently co-taught a computer course. For 40 years she was an encouragement to her husband's woodworking ambitions. Many years after she asked for it she and her husband got to sleep in a pencil post bed made in the woodworking shop below the bedroom. In the mid-1980s she had joined him in another hobby: Mrs. Ball held a technician's class amateur radio license N8JLP. With her husband and young daughter she hiked through the White Mountains of New Hampshire not just once but six times in the 1980s and 1990s. A jogger she and her husband in the 1990s participated twice with a team of 10 in the three-day Great Lakes Relay across northern Michigan. She was acknowledged by her friends for her cherry and lemon meringue pie expertise but far more for her long battle with breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy in 1983 followed by chemotherapy more chemo in 2000 again in 2004 and 2005 radiation in 2006 and brain surgery followed by radiation and nearly continuous chemotherapy from 2008 until her death. Mrs. Ball is survived by her husband Robert whom she called her "huckleberry friend"; her daughter Bethany Landsman Nyack N.Y.; grandchildren Ethan and Cecily; a sister Betty Allen of Nashville Tenn. and several nephews and nieces. Clara Ball hoped to live until her 70th birthday Sunday. A celebration of her life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Perennial Park 320 West Bacon Hillsdale. Friends will be urged to share a memory of Mrs. Ball. Contributions to be targeted to breast cancer research may be made to the University of Michigan addressed to Office of University Development In memory of Clara Ball 8th Floor 3003 South State St. Ann Arbor MI 48108.
Published in Daily Tribune on January 26 2011.
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