LIBBY Irving R. Ball, 90, a resident of the Kootenai Valley for the past 44 years, died Tuesday, July 11, 2006, at the Libby Care Center.
A service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Libby. Interment services with Masonic rites will follow at the City of Libby Cemetery. Friends can call at the Nelson & Vial Funeral Home from 1 to 8 p.m. Friday. Irving was born on the Beck ranch near Garrison on June 18, 1916, to Sterling and Marie Ball and spent his early childhood on the family homestead at Avon. He later resided with his family in Washington, Oregon and California, before returning to Montana. They settled in the Mission Valley at St. Ignatius in 1929, where he attended school. He graduated from St. Ignatius High School in 1935. He attended Intermountain Union College in Helena and Great Falls and later, Intermountain Union Polytechnic in Billings, now Rocky Mountain College, where he received training in machinery and welding. While attending school in Billings, he met Myrna Lewis. They were married Sept. 25, 1938, at her home in Fort Benton.
He returned to the Mission Valley, where he and his father operated the family ranch. Irving also operated an electric shop in St. Ignatius as well as an excavation service. Irving had been a pilot in the early days of civilian aviation, making one of the first air strips in the valley in a field on the family ranch. He also had served as a fireman on the community volunteer fire department as well as being involved in numerous other community affairs. After moving to Libby in 1962, he remained active in community affairs. He and his late wife, Myrna, were instrumental in establishing the Libby Dam Good Sam Club and assisting in all the club’s activities. As a longtime amateur ham radio operator, he helped organize the ham radio operators of the area in the development of an organization to assist in emergency and disaster relief. Following his retirement, he and Myrna enjoyed traveling throughout the United States in their motor home and time spent on their sail boat. They also enjoyed spending time with their grandchildren and numerous adopted grandchildren at their home on Flathead Lake. He had been a member of the United Methodist Church, Lumber and Sawmill Workers local No. 2581 and also a 50-year member and past master of Mission Valley Masonic Lodge No. 78
Irving was preceded in death by his wife, Myrna in 1995; and sister, Beryl Seljak in 2005. Survivors include his children, Lewis (Fran) Ball of Missoula, Rayna (Otto) Larsen of Columbia Falls, Daryl (Susie Fowler, fiance) Ball of Helendale, Calif., and Keith (Laurie) Ball of Hauser, Idaho, and formerly of Havre; seven grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and a host of adopted children and grandchildren. Memorials can be made to Libby Volunteer Ambulance, P. O. Box 777, Libby, MT 59923, or to the charity of the giver’s choice.