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.
Published in The Seattle Times on Feb. 16, 2020.