The Block Island Times

Margaret Bray Ball, 96

Apr 28, 2014

Margaret Bray (Calby) Ball of Mendocino, California, passed away peacefully on April 17, 2014, at the age of 96.

Margaret first came to Block Island in the late 1930s with Virginia Rose, her roommate at Wheelock College. They worked at Ballard's under the tutelage of “Ma” Ballard, who they recalled went to great efforts to be sure her “girls” were safe while in her charge. Family legend has it that young Cassius Clay Ball was home, watching girls arriving for the summer, and upon seeing Margaret remarked to his friend Champ Starr, Sr., “That’s the girl I’m going to marry.”And he did, in Cambridge, on Aug. 12, 1945, with the end of WWII, in which he had fought, certain.

Cash and Marge, as they were known on Block Island, lived outside Boston when their children were small, returning to the island in the summer. An educator, Margaret put her own career on hold while her children were young and the family moved as her husband’s job with the government mandated. They settled in southern California in the1960s. She had also moved several times as a child and came to think of Block Island as her real home and carried it in her heart as she moved around the country. Eventually, she moved to Mendocino, a Victorian town on the northern coast, which reminded her of her adopted New England home.

She is recalled as a true warrior princess, a strong and determined woman full of energy and generous in heart and spirit, who took on causes before they became popular, and seemed always to be just ahead of the curve. Her husband once remarked that an oceanside park in Ventura should have her name on it, because without her efforts it would have been lost to the public. While in Mendocino, she worked on saving remaining redwood forests, preserving public water rights to rivers, and incorporating homeless people into the community.

Margaretis survived by her daughters, Nancy Beatrice Ball (Burns) of Kingston, Washington; and Alice Kimberly (Ball) Good of Littleton, Colorado; and her grandchildren, Ryan Good of Durango, Colorado; Jane Good of Littleton, Colorado; and Lila Burns of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She will be interred in the Cassius Ball family plot in the Island Cemetery with her husband and their son, Peter Edmund Ball, who preceded her in death.

Her dream of returning home to Block Island will finally be realized.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.