Walter Colton Ball, of Pleasant Hill, passed away Monday, June 8, at the age of 89—just two months shy of his 90th birthday. Born in Napa in 1925, Walter grew up in San Francisco and graduated from Lowell High School in 1943. Walt was truly a self-made man as a member of the “greatest generation. “ After his family moved to Berkeley, he worked for a few local industries before landing a job, in 1947, at Manasse-Block Tanning Company, as a general laborer—doing whatever he was told. Due to his strong work ethic and commitment to quality, within a short time he was promoted to shipping clerk and his path upward through the organization had begun. His charisma and character naturally gave him the opportunity to move into sales. It was here he and the company, because of his work, flourished. His success eventually led to his being promoted into executive management. In 1986, forty years after he first walked through the tannery doors, he retired as the company president.
In 1955, Walt married the love of his life, LuAlice Irene Dunahee. The couple moved to Richmond and raised four children. Walt and Lu were married 49 years until Lu’s passing in January 2005. Walt is survived by his older sister, Janet Hayward; four children, David, Nolana, Florain, and Richard; thirteen grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
He was a passionate cribbage player and member of the Alamo Grass Roots Cribbage Club. Though never achieving a perfect 29 hand, he was extremely proud of finally reaching the prestigious Bronze level as a club player. With his quick wit, sensitive spirit and affable charm, he left every person he met with a smile on their face as he lived out his personal life motto, “Always leave them laughing!”
For five decades, Walter attended and served faithfully in many capacities at First Christian Church of Pleasant Hill, 2115 Pleasant Hill Rd, where his memorial will be held Saturday, June 27 at 1:00 pm. (925) 935-3445.