James Stuart Ball
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James Stuart Ball

April 10,1942 ~ February 11, 2020

Jim Ball died peacefully in his home on Tuesday afternoon surrounded by family & loved ones.

Born April 10, 1942 in Eugene, Oregon, his early years were plagued by a tumultuous home life and he turned to art at a young age to endure those dark times. In later years, he recounted how the love and support of extended family members, teachers, mentors and kind souls kept him afloat as he and his artistic voice continued to grow and evolve.

After graduating from high school and serving four years in the Navy, Jim moved to San Francisco where he met and married Sheryl Simon. Living in San Francisco in the 60s, Jim was involved in many iconic projects. He was a contributor to the first issues of Rolling Stone magazine, he shot the cover photo of Eldridge Cleaver for his book, Soul on Ice, as well as the famous college dorm poster of Huey Newton in a rattan chair holding a rifle and spear. But more important to him than any of those accomplishments were Sheryl and Jim's two children, Sara and Alexey Ball, who he showered with all the love he never had as a child.

After living in San Francisco, New Orleans and New York, Jim and family settled in Seattle where he became the head of the art department at the Cornish College of the Arts. Eight years after parting amicably from his first marriage, Jim met and married Kathleen Holm. Introduced by Jim's son Alexey and a search for an out of print book, they soon began what became a 36-year marriage filled with indescribable love for his family, which came to include Jim and Kathleen's two children, Katy and Benjamin Ball.

Jim suffered a heart attack in 1986 and for 34 years faced multiple complications, surgeries and procedures. With great optimism and no complaints, he defied fate and overcame the odds, keeping his sense of humor and affectionate nature intact until the very end.

Despite the impediments of ongoing health issues, Jim continued to reflect his unique vision through his art across a variety of mediums including photography, poetry, painting and Japanese landscape gardening. His genuine curiosity and love for his subjects, whether people, waterfalls, rivers or landscapes is reflected in his work as with patience he waited for just the right moment for the elements to align and the innermost stories to emerge. He captured the glory of nature and the human spirit as well as its loss.

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Holm; four children: Sara, Alexey, Katy and Benjamin Ball; six grandchildren: Abigail and Simon Ball and Anabelle, Harrison, Annika and Iris Horton; Son-in-law Danial Horton, Daughter-in-law, Jennifer Sugden, brother and sister-in-law Michael and Deborah Ball and a large network of extended family and friends.

Memorial services for Jim will be held at 3:00 pm on February 22nd at University Unitarian Church, 6556 35th Avenue NE, Seattle, 98115.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Seattle Times on Feb. 16, 2020.
Memorial service
03:00 PM
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10 entries
July 20, 2020
Jim was a miracle in survival and I love will him for my ever. My condolences to all - RIP, dear friend. xo
RE Carsch
May 2, 2020
Jim Ball was special. My time with him was always a bit hilarious, we shared a similar type of humor, were camera guys to the core (much to our wives consternation), and always looked to the brighter side of the crazy world we found ourselves in. But most of all, Jim was kind. Funny, kind, naturally creative, and, of course, a bit dapper. Uniquely so.
I am still not clear on where we go when we leave this world- but I do know Jimmy will be there bartering his way in. Save me a seat.

Robert Benjamin
Robert Benjamin
February 21, 2020
What is sometimes lost in discussions about Ball is how seriously he took his work. For all of his playfulness & belief that life should be fun ( and he was VERY fun ) it is easy to forget how passionate & dedicated he was to his craft ;whether his photography or gardens or his paintings. He strove for the best image, the quintessential horizon. Although we will long have 'Ball stories' to tell his work will survive those. The histories of the works & the man behind them may be lost but his beautiful vision remains. Thank you dear friend.
J Kelly
February 19, 2020
Jim was a gem and a gentleman. I have fond memories of working with him on many projects for which he was the photographer. I'm grateful to have been in his presence. Farewell, friend.
Dale Gluck
February 18, 2020
Eternal Affection Arrangement- BASKET INCLUDED
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February 17, 2020
Dear Katy and Benjamin,
I always enjoyed my encounters with your father when you two were sixth graders. Reading about his creative gifts to the literary world and positive influence on so many students at Cornish is inspiring. May the memories of treasured moments together bring you comfort, strength and smiles.
Mr. Woletz
St. Joseph's
Charles Woletz
February 17, 2020
As a member of the community, I wanted to extend my sincere condolences to the Ball family. May the God of all comfort support and sustain you through this difficult time.
February 16, 2020
I did not know Sara's father very well What I do know Jim is you and Sheryl produced an amazing person Sara was blessed to have you as a father Sandi Grundmanis
Sandi Grundmanis
February 16, 2020
Marrowstone Island 1987
I have many happy memories spent with Jim and his family, he had a devilish smile and a sense of humor that I will never forget. His love for Kathleen and all his children was a precious thing. His waterfall photos hang in our home as a constant reminder of nature and his brilliant talent and determination.

He has left quite a legacy that will live on long after his own lifetime. My heart goes out to you all at this time of loss, grief, and reflection. May you be surrounded by love and good memories.
K Kennell
February 16, 2020
Jim was an amazing photographer and artist. He was beloved by friends and family and will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, sweet Jimmy.
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