Community volunteer Fred Ball is being remembered as a “great historian, valuable mentor and tremendous jewel.” Mr. Ball passed away on March 21 at Lakeridge Health Oshawa surrounded by his family at age 73.
A proud, fourth-generation resident of Oshawa, Mr. Ball began a career in insurance in 1964 with London Life. That same year, he joined the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce. Over the years, he chaired several Chamber committees and served as Chamber President in 1971 and 1972.
He was the proud recipient of the Richard A. Dolphin Community Service Award, presented at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) Annual General Meeting in 2006. “It is a rare and precious thing to come across volunteers like Fred,” OCC President and CEO Len Crispino said at the award presentation.
“His dedication to both the Oshawa Chamber and to the whole community is something that should be cherished and honoured. For over 40 years, Fred has contributed to the prosperity of Oshawa and I have no doubt that the community is far better for it.”
Chamber General Manager and CEO Bob Malcolmson echoed those comments. “Fred is a great historian for our Chamber and tremendous mentor, not only for myself, but for many of our past presidents,” he said of the award presentation. “Fred is truly a tremendous jewel. It’s rewarding to recognize someone who has worked quietly behind the scenes to make such positive impacts.”
Mr. Ball sat on the City of Oshawa’s Economic Development Committee, which saw the redevelopment of the airport and removal of a building height restriction that paved the way for the Michael Starr Building, Bond Towers and other landmarks.
Mr. Ball helped formulate Chamber policies on issues critical to Oshawa, including a national auto policy, Oshawa Harbour, strategic city plan and university. He sat on the Board of Directors as an appointee and was Chair of the Community Physician Recruitment Task Force headed by the Chamber.
Mr. Ball was Chair of the Oshawa Automotive Museum Operating Committee, Tourism & Convention Committee and in the 60’s chaired a Chamber Committee to bring a University to Oshawa which resulted in Durham College being established in 1967.
In 1999, to celebrate the Millennium, Fred put together a Chamber of Commerce Millennium Committee with the idea of burying a time capsule on July 1, 2000 to be opened in 100 years. The Capsule contained mementos of Oshawa gathered from school children, community groups, organizations and businesses to commemorate Oshawa in the year 2000. The project was funded by donations and today a plaque stands at Lakeview Park, the site where the Time Capsule is located.
Having lived in Oshawa for more than half a century, and his Great Grand Parents emigrated from Ireland and took up residence in Oshawa before the end of the 19th Century, , Bob Malcolmson and I thought it might be fun to reminisce about the past, on an occasional basis, for our Newspaper. So here goes.
From 2005 to 2009 Mr. Ball having lived in Oshawa for more than half a century wrote a regular monthly column in the Chamber business paper, Business Matters, called “In My Day” reminiscing about the past, the people and businesses in Oshawa.
The longest-serving active past president, Mr. Ball was also a member of Lakeridge Health Oshawa Auxiliary and was involved in the operations of the Coffee Kiosk at Oshawa Hospital. He was active on Oshawa General Hospital Foundation fundraising committees, including the ‘Setting the Pace Campaign’ for hospital renovations and new cancer treatment centre.
Mr. Ball was a Past Chair of the 13th Oshawa Scouts, an organization he was involved with for more than 25 years. Together with former federal cabinet minister and prominent Oshawa citizen Michael Starr, Mr. Ball co-chaired a committee that raised $1 million for the refurbishment of Camp Samac – Scouts Canada. In January of 2008 he was presented with the Governor Generals award “The Silver Acorn”, the highest honour given adult volunteers for exemplary service to Scouts Canada.
Mr. Ball was a longtime member of the Oshawa Rotary Club and coached children’s hockey and baseball for more than 15 years. He was also lifelong member of the Kingsview United Church, where he served as chairman for 2 years and was active in the church choir for over 20 years.
In 2000, Mr. Ball incorporated C. Fred Ball & Associates. After retiring, he turned the operation of his business over to his daughter, Jennifer Smith.
Funeral services were held March 28 at Kingsview United Church in Oshawa and were followed by a reception and fellowship at The Officer’s Mess, Ontario Regiment.
Mr. Ball is survived by the love of his life and wife of 49½ years Beverley and his children Leanne (Tom), David (Melissa) and Jennifer (Rob). His pride and joy were his grandchildren Bryan, Erin, Emma and Jacob. Memorial donations in Mr. Ball’s memory can be made to Kingsview United Church. Condolences may be placed at
Tributes On The Passing Of A Great Shining Light
“Fred was a two year President of the Oshawa Chamber of Commerce – finishing his term in 1972 just as I was transferred to Oshawa from Toronto by Eaton’s. Presidents come and go – but not Fred! For over 40 years he maintained active participation at the Chamber and in my memory was by far the most dedicated member in the history of the Chamber. My condolences to the Ball family – and a sincere ‘thank you’ to them for sharing Fred with the Chamber over the past four decades.”
“Fred has been a friend for more than 30 years. His knowledge of community, social and business was second to none. His love, passion and loyalty for the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce were evident until the end. He will be sadly missed by his family, business community and friends. Fred’s sometimes outrages outbursts when discussing issues was entertaining and sometimes humorous. Fred, thanks for all your knowledge and help you have given me in my endeavors. You have been a great Ambassador for our community.”
“I worked with Fred for many years on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and he was a great asset to me and the Chamber. Fred was one of my all-time favorite people.”
“When I first got active in the Chamber in the very early 90’s, I was asked to join the Government Affairs committee that Fred was chairing at the time. We all know that Fred has a hard line opinion on everything so needless to say this committee was very active. Being new to the committee Fred was very helpful in making me feel welcomed and often solicited my opinion.
The following year I was asked if I would stand for election on the Board and I did become a Director. I most often sat next to Fred as he took me under his wing and guided me on process and procedure, again making my presence on the Board feel much more comfortable.
Many remember Fred as a staunch hardliner that didn’t mix words. I remember Fred as a man who didn’t hesitate to go out of his way to make a new active member feel welcome and at home. He always had my back. With deepest sympathies on the passing of a great shining light.”
“I met Fred Ball in the early 1990’s when I became active on committees and the board of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce. Fred was the first individual to welcome me to the Chamber and asked me to sit beside him at my first meeting so that he could get to know me better. If Fred liked you, you knew that you had a true friend.
Fred always had a smile and a friendly greeting whenever I ran into him on the street and he was always concerned with how I was doing.
Over the past two decades my contacts with Fred were generally at Chamber functions and committee and board meetings. Fred had a knack for making a dull meeting lively and invigorating. He was passionate about the City of Oshawa and the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce. Fred’s enthusiasm was boundless and he was always coming up with ideas and new projects that he thought would make Oshawa a better place.
Fred was a man who had beliefs and convictions that he strongly held and he was always ready, willing, and able to share those beliefs and convictions with anyone within earshot. When there was a challenge to something he held as important he would be vigorous in its defense. He enjoyed a debate (and a little controversy), and he would give no quarter. Nor did he expect any in return.
A man of strong convictions, Fred could be irascible, but because of his obvious love for Oshawa and the members of its community you could not help but like him.
Fred was always there when the community or the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce needed help and he was always there for me if I needed advice or encouragement. I shall miss him.”
“Fred Ball was President of the Chamber, elected in 1971 and I considered him a mentor. Fred never left you any doubt as to his thoughts on a particular issue. He was direct, honest, always said what he thought and did what he thought was right, damn the consequences. For those who know me, you know that I admire that approach.
Fred would have made a lousy politician – he had no time for the backroom games. However, he was an excellent advocate for business and as long as he was willing to stay involved in the Chamber, we welcomed his involvement, whether as a Director or as an Advisor (a role he embraced, even if he sometimes feigned complaint about not having a vote!)
At some point, everyone disagreed with Fred on some issue or other, but with Fred, we were always able to respect each other’s right to their opinion and disagreements on issues were just that – they never interfered with the respect and friendship that we all enjoyed with Fred.
His passion for Oshawa, the Chamber, community service and family was at a level to which we should all aspire. Our best tribute to Fred would be to do our best to fulfil those aspirations. That would make him proud.”
“What I remember of Fred was the guidance he provided for a rookie incoming president. His to the point comments helped me with the education process of board members.
Fred will be missed.”
“Fred was always supportive of me in my role as President, in particular as a woman President. He always had kind words for me and he added an entertainment factor to the board meetings, in addition to his meaningful input.”
“I am sure most of you waited in anticipation for Fred’s article ”In My Day ” published regularly in the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce newsletter. Fred was a wealth of information, history and important facts and some not so important, but all valuable in one way or another.
The unsuspecting person to meet Fred for the first time would be fronted with a gruff, quick witted gentleman who appeared not to give a damn about anyone else’s opinions, rules, regulations and protocol. That was a front. A more caring, kind person I have not met. I recall my first encounter with Mr. Ball. He made it very clear to me that he was the boss, even when I was President of the Chamber, he still demanded respect.
At the Board meetings we tried to keep a sense of decorum and run the meetings according to “Roberts Rules of Order.” We quickly found out that “Ball’s Rules of Order superseded Robert’s.
We were honoured to have Fred’s commitment to the Chamber for so many years. He was entitled to over rule the President, and he made that clear, in his gentle kind of way. Fred knew his stuff. He had his hand on the pulse of Oshawa. He knew everyone, young, old and the forefathers of Oshawa that were long gone.
Fred was an inspiration to me and I would suggest to everyone who took the time to learn from him. Fred’s involvement took him beyond the business community. He was actively involved in the Scouting movement and many, many more, worthwhile activities.
I only have fond memories of Mr. Fred Ball. He will be sadly missed by all. “In my Day”, I will remember the very respected, community minded, much loved, Mr. Fred Ball”
“I will always remember Fred for his unwavering dedication to the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce. As a new President I looked to Fred to share his years of Chamber experience and his thoughts on problem solving strategies. I doubt we will see the likes of another Fred Ball again…the Chamber has lost a great friend and supporter.”
“I write this as a tribute to my friend, and mentor, Fred Ball. While we mourn his passing, we must also celebrate his extraordinary life and the enormous contribution he made to our community.
I first met Fred at my very first Board meeting many years ago. I had the good fortune of sitting in the empty seat next to him. After the meeting, where I, as usual, probably had too much to say, Fred elbowed me in the ribs, introduced himself, and said, “nice job kid .”
Over the years I came to appreciate his energy, dedication, and unflagging support of our Chamber and the Chamber movement. As anyone who has served on our Board can tell you, Fred “told it like it is”, in a style that was often colourful and in a style that was uniquely his own. He was the longest serving active Past President of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, joining the then Oshawa & District Chamber of Commerce in 1964.
When he started in business his saying was, “if you’re going to be in Business you have to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce.” He was elected President in 1971 and 1972 and remained an active member with 46 years service as a Chamber volunteer.
He not only gave his time and energy to the Chamber of Commerce, but also to the Community as a whole. In 2008 it was my honour as President to make Fred the first recipient of our Chamber’s George W. McLaughlin Life Membership Award.
Rest in peace my friend, you will be missed.”
“Last year my father Jim Hare, now age 89, blessed with good health and residing in BC, flew back for a visit. He asked after his old friend Fred Ball. As Fred and I had become friends through Chamber work, I suggested a lunch at the Oshawa Golf Club to catch up. Back in the 50’s and 60’s Fred and dad not only shared careers in the insurance business, they both had sung in the King Street Church choir (now Kingsview since the fire that burned down the original church) and were also both heavily involved in Scouting. Over the course of lunch I was regaled with stories of the Scouting days and reminded of Fred’s involvement with the establishment of Camp Samac North in Haliburton. With Fred’s guidance and commitment, thousands of Oshawa boys were able to enjoy a summer outdoor camping experience. Throughout his life Fred maintained his commitment to the Scouting movement in Oshawa. Fred’s gift of his time, talent and limitless energy will never be forgotten by those who were fortunate enough to have worked with him.”
“I am very sad to hear of Fred’s passing –he was an incredibly passionate community champion! I enjoyed his thirst for life and his commitment to the Chamber.”
“I have fond memories of Fred, he cared about me – his friend. This was a man with a large and caring heart and I will miss him very, very much. I hope Fred knows how much I appreciated his encouragement & concern – no matter how flowery it was. Farewell my Friend – farewell.”