Dr. Wesley James Ball, M.D., 88, went to be with God on January 8, 2020 peacefully at his Savannah home surrounded by family. He lived a very fulfilling life with Patricia Ball (née Boatright), his wife of 62 years. Dr. Ball shall be remembered for his genuine care and concern for his fellow human beings informed by his unwavering faith in God’s mercy and love for all.
The Moultrie native was born June 15, 1931 to the late Hayward Wesley
Ball and Catherine Alexander Ball. Growing up, he attended schools in the Moultrie school system and graduated from Moultrie High School. He then attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, graduating in 1952 with a baccalaureate degree in biology, and shortly after earned the M.S. degree in biology from Atlanta University. He studied medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, from which he received the MD degree. During his time at Meharry, he married his graduate school sweetheart Patricia in 1957. Next, he completed his rotating internship at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren, Ohio and then his general surgery residency at the Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.
In 1964 Dr. Ball came to Savannah, where he practiced surgery for thirty three years.
He was active on the medical staffs of Candler Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and Memorial Medical Center. He served on the board of directors of all three hospitals and on the Board of Candler Health Services. Dr. Ball served on the Medical Staff Executive Committee of Candler Hospital for many years and was the first black surgeon to serve as Chief of Staff at Candler Hospital. He was a past president of the Georgia State Medical Association and served on its Executive Committee for many years. In 1992, the GSMA awarded Dr. Ball its prestigious Gold Medal for Distinguished Service.
During President Jimmy Carter’s administration, Dr. Ball was chairman of the Health Services Area Board. He was a past member of the Morehouse Medical School Advisory Board. Dr. Ball served as physician at Greenbriar Children’s Center for twenty years. His service as a physician at the Chatham Nursing Home was particularly distinguished by his insistence on policy changes to ensure equal care for all patients regardless of their ethnic origins or background. In addition, Dr. Ball made numerous medical mission trips to Haiti. Dr. Ball was a mentor and “godfather of medicine” to many young and fledgling medical practitioners. The medical community knew him most famously for his loving and kind manner, which were outward manifestations of his genuine faith, conviction, and altruism.
Dr. Ball was deeply involved in community service. He served on the Board of the Chatham County Department of Family and Children services for ten years and chaired the Board for four years. He was physician for the football team at Jenkins High School for eight years. He served on the Westside Urban Health Center Board of Directors for four years, was a founding
Board member of the Westside Comprehensive Health Center and served for many years as a member of the Board of Directors of Carver State Bank.
His deep sense of social consciousness guided him to become involved with the local branch of the NAACP early on. A life member of the NAACP, Dr. Ball served on the Board of Directors of the Savannah Branch for over twenty-five years. He served as chairman of its Health Committee and participated in formulating plans for school desegregation, political action, and voter registration and mobilization. He and his wife Patricia served on the Freedom Fund Dinner Committee for many years.
Dr. Ball and his family are members of the Liberty City Church of Christ, where he served as an Elder and a Sunday School teacher for many years. Gracious and humane, Dr. Ball has transformed many lives through his skills, his compassion, and his faith. A model for the dedicated life of good works, kind words, and radiant affirmation, his achievement and aspirations offer inspiration to all. He shall be remembered.
He leaves to cherish his memories his wife, Ardella Patricia Ball; his four children, Wesley James Ball Jr. (Deborah), Roderic Lynn Ball, Weselyn Ball Grimes (Randall), and Patrick Wayne Ball (Monica); his seven grandchildren, William Earl Brown, Jessica Randi Grimes, Maya Lynette Grimes, Roderic Lynn Ball Jr., Ivory Constance Grimes, Victoria Celeste Ball, Gabrielle Elise Ball; his three siblings, Marjorie B. Walker (James), Frederick W. Ball (Juanita), and Alfred L. Ball; and a host of other relatives and friends.