Irene S. Ball unexpectedly went to her heavenly home on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. She followed her husband, Ralph “Jake” Ball, whom she married in 1955, and her son, Scott Ball, up that heavenly stairway. Irene also follows her parents, John and Ida Stockmeister, and her five siblings: Mary Bogner, Leonard Stockmeister, Agnes Warner, Art Stockmeister, and Viola Wagner. Irene was the baby of that Stockmeister generation.
Irene was born in Reedtown, OH, on May 20, 1930. Her mother went to heaven when Irene was nine weeks old. She was raised by her father, siblings, countless relatives, and neighbors who also became part of her family. Over the years, she recounted of how she was welcomed into her neighbors’ homes. Her neighborhood family would make clothes for her and welcome her to their tables for memorable and appreciated meals. She always spoke of parties and music and laughter in these homes.
Early in life, Irene learned the value of hard work that gave her the drive to succeed. She became a successful cosmetologist operating her own salon.
Irene and Jake, along with Irene’s brother, Art, and Tom Billiard, built Jolly Lanes – Bellevue where good times were had by many. Within a few years, Art and Tom sold the business to Jake and Irene. As a result of their purchase, Irene became more involved with the management of Jolly Lanes. Her touch was evident in so many ways. Her impact was most notable as the party planner and the hors d’oeuvre and pastry chef. She loved decorating culinary creations with flowers and greens from Mother Nature.
Irene also helped Jake with farming. No, she did not drive a tractor, but took lunches and dinners to the guys who did. She helped to keep the equipment clean and the barns painted. She was Dad’s Manhattan maker after he had a long day in the fields.
Irene and Jake loved being with their family. This was quite evident in all the adventures that they endured for or with their children… hunting, beekeeping, fishing, traveling, cats, dogs, college, careers, career changes, just to name a few. Milestone occasions were celebrated with parties, convivial parties… good friends, good food, lots of cheer, music, and laughter. And then there were the parties that were “just because parties,” again with more good cheer and laughter.
Irene had a creative eye. She was a friend to the paint brush… the Sherwin Williams paint brush. She was the master painter in her home and her children’s homes, sometimes chasing them out of bed in the mornings to exercise that paint brush. She was also a perfectionist in the kitchen, everything had to be homemade, no box mixes in her kitchen!
Her creativity was remarkable and best illustrated in her gardening. She was a rose connoisseur – caring for more than 80 tea rose bushes that she referred to as her children. Many of those rose bushes were relocated from her white house at Routes 4 & 20 to Jackson when she moved to be with her daughters, Gail and Kay and her granddaughter Gracie (Kay).
During the past 10 years in Jackson, her roses have thrived with her continued care. She spent her time sharing her creative gardening and culinary skills and treasures with her daughters and granddaughter.
On a personal note, both of our parents leave a loving memory in our hearts and a gift that no one can take away, and that is knowing that Mom and Dad loved each other.
Mom, we are grateful to have you as our mother, and Dad as our father… glad you two hooked up at Ruggles Beach for that first dance… a dance that lasted throughout your marriage. May this dance continue in heaven. Both of you will always be alive in our hearts. We love you forever!
The family plans to have a private service to celebrate Irene’s life. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to: Flat Rock Homes (a home for the developmentally challenged, located close to where Irene grew up) — 7353 County Road 29, Flat Rock, OH 44828 – https://www.flatrockhomes.org/giving/; or to Jenkins Care Community, 142 Jenkins Memorial Road, Wellston, OH 45692 – 740-384-2119; or to National Church Residences Hospice, 681 East Third Street, Waverly, OH 45690