John Sigler Ball (1914 - 2012)

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John Sigler Ball, age 98 and former resident of Bartlesville, Oklahoma passed away on December 30, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. John was born August 2, 1914 in Hamlin, Texas to Noltee Ball and Christa (Sigler) Ball.
During John's childhood, he and his family moved to several communities in West Texas before settling in Lubbock, Texas where he graduated with the Senior Class of 1930 from Lubbock High School. He continued his education at the Texas Technological College in Lubbock studying chemical engineering and graduating with his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1934. In 1936, he attained his Master's Degree in Organic Chemistry. He then worked on his doctorate at the University of Colorado in Boulder from 1936-1938. During his collegiate years, John was elected to the Alpha Chi and Tau Beta Pi, honorary scholarship societies. In 1977, he received the honor of Distinguished Engineer from Texas Tech.
Mr. Ball began working in January of 1938 for the United States Bureau of Mines in Laramie, Wyoming. During his employment he was active in the analysis of crude oils and the development of a method for analyzing sulfur compounds in petroleum during World War II, at which time all efforts were concentrated on developing sources of aviation fuels. John was cited both for his work on sulfur compounds and for the team effort on aviation fuel.
On September 17, 1938, he and the former Miss Virginia Ruth Noell were married in Lubbock, Texas. They were blessed with six children; Eugene, Louise, Evelyn, Margie, Kathie and Annette.
Following World War II, he developed a program for the study of sulfur compounds in petroleum and in 1948, the American Petroleum Institute established Project 48 on Sulfur Compounds as a cooperative project with the Bureau of Mines. He was a director of this project for fifteen years, until 1963. Mr. Ball was also made director of a research work on the composition of shale oil until 1955. In 1953, he was named an Outstanding Young Man in the Federal Government. He received the Department of Interior's Distinguished Service Award in 1954. That same year, he was made director of the American Petroleum Institute Research Project 52 on Nitrogen Compounds of Petroleum and continued in these interests until 1963. In 1955, he was placed in charge of all petroleum research at Laramie, including work on petroleum production. In June of 1963, Mr. and Mrs. Ball were transferred to Bartlesville where he became the Director of the Bartlesville Petroleum Research Center, later known as the Bartlesville Research Center and Bartlesville Energy Technology Center. Sponsorship also was moved from the Bureau of Mines to the Energy Research and Development Administration (E.R.D.A.), and to the Department of Energy. Emphasis changes from secondary recovery, to nuclear applications, to air pollution studies, to enhanced oil recovery over the years, while a core program of basic petroleum research continued.
Mr. Ball was retired in October of 1978 following more than forty years of service connection. He was responsible for establishing a consulting service, J.B. Consultants, Inc. and in 1979, he was in charge of the Hall of Science for the International Petroleum Exposition at Tulsa. He was also active as a consultant for B.E.T.C. until 1984 when the Center became the National Institute for Petroleum and Energy Research (N.I.P.E.R.). Mr. Ball was active with N.I.P.E.R. and he compiled Annual Research Plans and Annual Reports.
Mr. Ball was a former member of the First Baptist Church, Lubbock, of which he served as Baptist Student Union President in 1935. He was active with the First Baptist Church at Laramie, serving as Sunday school teacher, usher, church treasurer, moderator and deacon. Mr. Ball was a member of the First Baptist Church, Bartlesville, where he taught men's Sunday school.
He was a member of the Boy Scouts of America since 1926 and became an Eagle Scout. He continued his interest with the Boy Scout Program and at Laramie, he was Troop Committeeman, District Chairman and District Commissioner. He was Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Osage Hills District in Bartlesville for five years, from 1971 until 1976 and was awarded the Silver Beaver in 1973. Mr. Ball was President of the Cherokee Area Council of Northeast Oklahoma from 1975 to 1977.
Mr. Ball was instrumental in organizing the Wyoming Local Section of the American Chemical Society in 1946 and he served as Secretary, Chairman-Elect and Chairman of the Section. He was elected Councilor from the Section to the national organization in 1950. In the A.C.S. Council, he served on the Membership Affairs Committee from 1953 until 1958 and was Secretary for one year. He was also involved with the Publications Committee and the Council Policy Committee from 1966 to 1971. In the Petroleum Division of the A.C.S., he served as Area Representative and was on the Long Range Planning Committee and served as Chairman-Elect and Chairman. He was appointed Managing Editor of the Preprints in 1969 until 1976.
Mr. Ball was a member of the Laramie Kiwanis Club of which he served as President in 1953 and Lt. Governor of Division 1 of the Rocky Mountain District. He was later a member of the Bartlesville Kiwanis club where he served as Lt. Governor of Division 27 of the Texas-Oklahoma District.
He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists in 1969 and organized the Oklahoma Institute of Chemists and was the first President of the organization. He was a member of the A.I.C. Scientific Exchange Group to China in 1987. He was elected a member by the Wyoming chapter of Sigma XI in 1943 and served as Secretary and President-Elect and also as President from 1960 until 1962.
Mr. Ball served as Chairman of the 1956 Petroleum Conference of the Gordon Research Conferences. In 1986, he was advanced from member to Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science which sponsors the Gordon Conferences.
His other memberships have included the Geochemical Society, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Society for Testing and Materials and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Mr. Ball was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Virginia Ruth (Noell) Ball; daughter, Janet Evelyn (Ball) Baston; and sister, Helen (Ball) Woolfe.
He is survived by his son, Dr. John Eugene Ball and his wife, Cynthia, of Woodinville, Washington; daughters, Ruth Louise (Ball) Lynch and her husband, John, of Williamsburg, Virginia, Margaret Joyce (Ball) Green and her husband, Larry, of Denver, Colorado, Mary Kathleen (Ball) Whyte and her husband, Robert, of Aurora, Colorado and Annette Virginia (Ball) Rigsby of Bartlesville, Oklahoma; 15 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and sister, Geraldine (Ball) Wozencraft.
For those who wish, memorial contributions can be made to Family Crisis and Counseling Inc, 615 SE Frank Phillips Blvd. Bartlesville, OK 74003.
Graveside services for Mr. Ball will be held on Monday, January 7, 2013, at 10:00 a.m., in the Memorial Park Cemetery, Bartlesville. Dr. Joe Dan Fowler will officiate. Interment will follow in the Memorial Park Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the direction of Arnold Moore & Neekamp Funeral Home. On line condolences may be left at
Published in Examiner-Enterprise from Jan. 6 to Feb. 5, 2013
John S. Ball
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Arrangements under the direction of:
Olinger Hampden Mortuary & Cemetery
8600 East Hampden Ave | Denver, CO 80231 | (303) 771-4636
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