George Junior Ball, 90, died peacefully in his sleep Sunday, September 17, 2017. He was just 6 weeks shy of his 91st Birthday.
George was born on October 30, 1926 in Cokeville, Wyoming to George Thomas Ball and Mabel Leatham Ball. He was the youngest of three sons. He spent his childhood in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho where he met his childhood sweetheart and future wife, Merlene Arnold. They both graduated from Lava Hot Springs High School and were married on August 2, 1944 in Pocatello, Idaho.
Shortly thereafter, George joined the Navy and attended boot camp at the Farragut Naval Training Station in Northern Idaho. After completing boot camp he served aboard the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Salerno Bay, in the Pacific Theater in 1945 and in the Atlantic in 1946. He was discharged in 1946 and returned to his wife and infant daughter in Lava.
Following his military service he worked in several jobs around Lava and Pocatello and on road construction projects in Idaho and Oregon. In 1949 George, Merlene and their two small daughters moved to Idaho Falls where he went to work for Best Foods. In 1951 George went to work for the Atomic Energy Commission at what was then the National Reactor Testing Station headquartered in Idaho Falls where he held various positions in the Health and Safety field. It was in Idaho Falls that George and Merlene's son and two more daughters were born.
When not working, George loved being in the outdoors; fishing, camping, boating and waterskiing. During the colder months he loved to spend time on building and remodeling projects and was an excellent craftsman. He was also very knowledgeable and handy and there didn't seem to be anything he couldn't build or repair. He was active in the Elks club and he and Merlene spent many Saturday evenings on the dance floor.
He retired from the Department of Energy in 1981 and was able to spend more time traveling with Merlene. Together they converted a Greyhound bus into a motorhome and spent several years traveling and making many friends.
Merlene passed away unexpectedly in 2002. In 2005 George married Susan Humphries, who had three children: DeeRay Humphries, Susan Wolf, and Kindra McIntier. George and Susan were later divorced.
George lived at his home on 25th Street in Idaho Falls until two years ago at age 89 when he moved into MorningStar Senior Living.
George was preceded in death by his wife, Merlene, his oldest daughter, Linda, his father and mother, and his older brother, Wayne.
He is survived by his brother Carl Ball, of San Jose, CA and four children: Carla Lewis of Hanford, CA. Ken Ball (Victoria) of Livermore, CA. Karen Carver of Tucson, AZ and Lisa Arnold of Salt Lake City, UT. He is also survived by twelve grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. The Ball family wishes to thank the staff of MorningStar Senior Living for their exceptional care and concern for George and his family. Their kindness and compassion made a real difference in George's last years. We will always remember and be grateful. Knowing them has been an inspiration.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in George's name to Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A visitation will be at Buck Miller Hann Funeral Home Tuesday September 26, 2017 from 6 to 8 pm.
Graveside service will be Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 2 pm at the Lava Hot Springs Cemetery. Online condolences may be left at www.buckmillerhann.com. Arrangements under the direction of Buck Miller Hann Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Idaho Falls, ID.
Tuesday, September 26th, 2017
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