|By David Hedges|
I met Hadsel briefly years ago while living in Spencer, but I never
got to know him. I regret that now, since so
many of my friends have spoken of this life, in death. Jack Garrett,
of Denbigh-Garrett Ford in Spencer, stopped
by a few evenings ago after visiting him at Minnie Hamilton Health
Care Center. He, like many others, talked of
the nature of the man who gave so much of himself. "You'd better go
and visit him," he said. I didn't make it.
In this weeks Time-Record/Roane County Reporter, publisher DAVID
HEDGES has written that his music will never
stop playing: "Some teachers leave a lasting impression on their
students. Mr. Ball was one of those.
spent 42 years of his life teaching music to kids, including the last
34 at Spencer Elementary/Junior High. He not
only loved music, but he loved teaching. Imparting knowledge was his
life's calling and he did it well. Mr. Ball
would often use music to get across other subjects. He would turn a
song into a history lesson, or any other topic he
could relate it to in order to stimulate young minds.
were slow to answer, he would offer a nickel or a
carton of chocolate milk from the milk machine outside his classroom.
That would get hands going up quickly. Even
if you didn't know the answer, the promise of some chocolate milk was
a good reason to at least guess.
occasion, while we were learning the song, "Dixie," and discussing the
Civil War, Mr. Ball asked if anyone knew
who Jeff Davis was. One of my classmates, whose last name was Davis,
quickly raised his hand. Mr. Ball called
upon the child who obviously knew the answer. When the boy said "my
brother," Mr. Ball just grinned. He knew
the boy was serious. I think he gave him a nickel for a carton of
chocolate milk, even though that wasn't the answer
Whenever we came across any Latin words in studying our
music, Mr. Ball would call upon me to tell
the rest of the class what they meant. As one of probably ten
Catholics in school, he was sure I knew the answer. I
guess he didn't know they stopped saying the Mass in Latin when I was
about four years old and I had no idea
what any Latin words meant. Mr. Ball was the kind of teacher you hated
to disappoint, but I couldn't decipher any
Latin. In fact, it was a long time before I even understood why he
always called on me to answer those questions.
One of his former students went on to become a music teacher himself.
Ed Vineyard recalls that Mr. Ball always
produced one of the top junior high bands in the state, earning
superior ratings year after year. He was also a fine
pianist, and loved classical music. Mr. Ball was offered teaching
positions at WVU, but he always declined. Instead
he stayed on the farm at Stumptown, where he cared for his mother
until her death at the age of 98 just a few years
Mr. Ball himself died, just last week, at the age of 82. But
the lessons he put into our young minds is still
playing, although a bit slower because of the passing of Hadsel Ball."
A MEMORIAL SERVICE for Hadsel Ball
will be announced this week to be held in Glenville.