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Obituary: Roland Ball of Michigan

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Roland Ball (Minuard Rowland Ball, Jr.) was born on Sept. 22, 1939, to Minuard Rowland Ball, Sr. and Mattie Maple Harper Ball in McCaskill, Ark. His father passed away in WWII when Roland was very young, and he grew up with his mother and two sisters, Jean and Brenda, as well as many other family members who loved and helped shape him. His relatives always said he was “just like his daddy” because, like his father, everyone simply loved him. His personality was absolutely magnetic. Throughout his entire life, he was incredibly skilled at making people feel special, and he naturally drew people to him. Roland was gentle, loving, and kind beyond measure with a contagious smile and a truly awesome laugh.

As a young teenage boy, Roland had a paper route delivering ‘The Nashville News.‘

Later, he worked during the summer in the peach harvest at the big packing sheds. He was a naturally and notoriously excellent dancer, and he played the trombone, saxophone, and drums in the Scrapper band. As such, he was voted “Most Talented” his senior year. After graduation, he spent a brief time in the Army Reserves, and then attended college for a bit, though this wasn’t his most successful time, as he enjoyed the social life rather than the academic life. Returning home in 1959, his mother was determined that he would not just hang out at the pool hall, so she sent him to West Texas with $19 and a bus ticket to work with his Uncle Wyatt at Gulf Oil, on a journey that would become his life’s career. As many know, he was quite a success in the oil field industry with Shell Oil in Texas and later Michigan, and retiring from Dart Oil & Gas in 2002.

He was great at conversation and loved good food and drink, but he was proud of his children more than words can ever say. He was not good at hurrying. Anyone whoever waited on him to finish a story or a meal, or to just put some good ole giddyup in his step can attest that he was not one to rush … ever. 

Roland spent his leisure time on the golf course, particularly the Missaukee Golf Club in Lake City, Mich., which annually hosts the “Oh Yeah Golf Tournament” in his honor. He made nicknames for his many friends, bought more golf clubs than he could ever use, and loved his family with every bit of his heart and soul. Five minutes with Roland Ball was a gift. 

He passed away on November 28th leaving an aching hole in the lives of his children and their families who adore him with all of their hearts. He was the devoted father of his eldest kids from his marriage to Billie Lutricia Ball: Beth (Kathy Kost, grandson Jeremy and his wife Hayley, and their daughters Kylie & Harlow), Mike (Gloria, grandkids Hannah & Tabitha), Jamie (Karrie, grandson Austin James and his daughters Daylinn & Khloe Jo), and Bill (Renée, granddaughter Tasha & her husband Oscar Morales, and their sons Noe & Mateo). He leaves behind his youngest children from his marriage to Marie Lou Ball: TJ Kohler (Jill, grandkids Nathan, Sarah, and Samantha), Tamar Ball (grandpuppies Bella & Milo), Sam (Rachel, grandsons Rowland & Leland), and Amy Ball (Dan Rose). 

Roland’s children will host a Celebration of Life in honor of their father with food and drinks onSaturday, Jan. 11th at 3:00 p.m. at the Fox Hill Event Center in Cadillac, Mich. Their father had a tender spot in his heart for children born with a cleft palate, and they ask that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Smile Train (smiletrain.org) in his honor. 

“For any man to have a bunch of kids and have every one of them turn out to be sharp, talented, good-looking, and honest contributors to this ole human race; count me as one of the Lucky Ones.”  – Roland Ball