James "Jim" Ball

September 19, 1927-July 24, 2019

James "Jim" Ball went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the First United Methodist Church in Columbus. Aloha or casual attire is requested. Visitation will be from 6-7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2 at McKown Funeral Home. Visitation will continue from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday at the church. Burial will be in the Roselawn Memorial Cemetery with military honors by Hartman Post #84 American Legion Honor Guard.

Ball was born on a farm in Cora, Missouri, Sept. 19, 1927. After graduating from Milan (MO) High School in 1945, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served on the USS Cowpens, an aircraft carrier deployed in the Pacific Ocean.

After World War II ended, Ball attended the University of Missouri on the GI bill and graduated in 1950. In college he met his bride, Gloria, who was a native of Hawaii. They married in 1951 in Shenandoah, Iowa, because mixed race marriages were against the law in Missouri.

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After a brief career as a soil scientist in South Dakota, and as a Farm Bureau agent in Iowa, Ball moved to Columbus when he was offered a management position with Habco, a local manufacturing company in 1955. After Habco closed, Ball and his wife purchased a struggling flower shop, the Bridal Nook Florist on 13th street in 1959. Over the next 37 years, Ball and his wife built Columbus Florist into a successful local business.

He was the ultimate community-minded man. He recently received his 70-year pin from the American Legion Hartman Post 84 and his 70-year certificate from the Masonic Lodge. He was an active Columbus Lions Club member for 63 years and past president. He was also past president of the Columbus School Board of Education, Columbus Family Y, Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Columbus High Booster Club, and the Nebraska Florists Society. Ball was a University of Nebraska Master Gardner for over 20 years. He formerly served on the United Methodist Church Board of Trustees, and was a member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 3704. He was also a former volunteer with the Columbus Wrestling Club, Boy Scouts, and Columbus Little League Baseball.

Ball was selected as King Ferdinand XIV during Columbus Days in 1988. He was also inducted into the Columbus Discoverers Hall of Fame for Meritorious Service in 2009. He and his wife loved to travel, visiting all 50 states and all 10 Canadian provinces.

Ball is survived by Gloria, his wife of 68 years; sons, Kim (Cindy) of Lahaina, Hawaii, and Lindsay (Momi) of Kihei, Hawaii, and a hanai daughter, Wilma (Bob) Arp of Columbus. They also have six grandchildren: Rachel (Josh) Weast of Prairie Village, Kansas, Jimmy (Beth) Ball of Omaha; Bailey (Traci) Ball of Clovis, New Mexico, Cody Ball of Lahaina, Hawaii, Blake Ball of Houston, Texas, Kainalu Ball of Kihei, Hawaii; and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his father, Martin Leroy; his mother, Mary; and his sister, Betty Jo.

Condolences may be left at www.mckownfuneralhome.com

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