William & Mary

Message regarding Donald Ball

Provost Michael Halleran sent the following message to the campus community on March 16, 2012 - Ed.

Dear Friends,

I write with great sadness to share the news that Donald L. Ball, Professor of English Emeritus, died on Friday, March 9. 

Donald BallDon Ball graduated from the University of Richmond in 1948 after serving three years in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific area.  He received his Master’s Degree from the University of Delaware in 1951, and later, his doctorate at the University of North Carolina in 1965.  In 1960 he joined the W&M faculty as an Instructor in the Department of English, and was promoted to full professor in 1976.  With 29 years of devoted service, Professor Ball retired from the College in 1989. 

During his time at William & Mary, Professor Ball developed and taught a wide variety of courses in language and literature.  He specialized in the fields of composition, history of the language, and the early English novel, and made contributions to the scholarship in all three.  His colleagues remember him as a conscientious teacher and advisor to his students.  His sense of humor enriched his love of the unusual origin of words as he taught the history of the English language, and he often amused his office mates by reading excerpts from the eighteenth-century novels he taught.  He was a kind and friendly man, and he was missed by his department colleagues after his retirement.

Professor Ball was not only active within the English Department and the College, he gave generously of his time to regional and national organizations.  He was a member of the Williamsburg Kiwanis Club and served a term as its historian.  An active member of Bruton Parish Church, he was a member of the choir, the Vestry and the Men’s Breakfast Group.

Don is survived by his wife, Barbara; four daughters: Helen Williams, Allison Miller, Ann Ball and Markley Rizzi; six grandchildren: Lucy and Clair Williams, Lillian and Erin Miller, and Tucker and Isabella Rizzi; and his brother, Dale.  A memorial service will be held on Thursday, April 19 at 2:00 p.m. in the Wren Chapel followed by a reception in the Great Hall.