James Hans Ball (“Jim”) was born the son of Lora and Luella (Peterson) Ball on Nov. 8, 1932, in Webb, and passed from this life with his loving wife of 64 years at his bedside on May 15 at MercyOne Hospital in Des Moines at the age of 87 years.
Jim grew up on his parents’ farm and graduated from Webb High School in 1950. He then joined the U.S. Army and served during the Korean conflict.
After his discharge, Jim returned home and farmed with his father and brother. On Aug. 24, 1955, Jim was united in marriage to Delma Tremmel at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Ashton. Two daughters, Cori and Lori, were born to this union.
Jim and Delma continued to farm until 1960, when they decided that the family farm could not support three families. They moved to Jefferson, where Jim started the Ball Oil Company and ran a tank wagon service along with the Vickers service station on Highway 4 where Louk Plumbing is now located. Jim and Delma operated the service station for 25 years and their daughters, when old enough, helped pump gas. Delma remembers several men said the girls were the reason they came to the station for gas.
Jim enjoyed cooking, and in 1985, he purchased a small cafe on the south side of Jefferson’s Square and named it Dad’s Diner, serving breakfast and lunch. After five years of opening early in the morning, Jim decided to close his diner.
Jim was a friend of Cecil Rueter in Grand Junction, who had earlier built a private, nine-hole golf course surrounding his home west of Grand Junction. Cecil hired Jim to manage the course and be its groundskeeper. Jim suggested that the course be opened to the public and it was called The Hill. As groundskeeper, Jim manicured the course as if it was his home lawn. He also planted several flower beds throughout the course.
Jim and Delma retired together in 2003 and Jim continued his passion for cooking and gardening. He was noted for his peanut brittle and cookies, and for his tomatoes and the plants that grew as tall as his backyard fence.
In March of 2008, Jim and Delma had a great loss with the death of their daughter, Lori.
Jim was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jefferson. Jim joined the Jefferson Elks Lodge 2306 in February of 1965, shortly after the lodge was started. He was active in the lodge but did not become an officer in the lodge until 1972. He delayed taking an office because he did not want to be the lodge leader until his girls had graduated from high school. In March of 1975, Jim was installed as the Elks Lodge’s exalted ruler. After serving as exalted ruler, Jim continued to be active and Delma was also an active member of the Jefferson DOES Drove 196. During this time, Jim and Delma always looked forward to Saturday night at the lodge, attending dances and other activities.
Jim is survived by his wife, Delma; a daughter, Cori (Mike) Devlin, of Chadds Ford, Pa.; and grandson Emmet.
He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter; brother Raymond Ball; and sister Mary Lou Walsh.
In accordance with Jim’s wishes, no services will be held, and burial in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery will be held at a future date.
The Brown Funeral Home is assisting the family.