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Obituary for Irving Russell Ball

Irv was born on June 4, 1928 in Comstock Park, Michigan, to Roland, Sr and Florence Ball. He is preceded in death by his parents, infant brother, Billy, brother, Roland Ball, Jr. and numerous extended family members. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Opal; his daughters: Nancyanne (Joe) Robbe, Monica (Tom) Knopp, Linda Ball, Karen Ball (partner, Kari Duley); six grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; his brothers: Richard (Deloris) Ball, Dave (Joyce) Ball, as well as many nieces and nephews, and extended family members.

His childhood years were spent in the South Haven area where his parents had a small chicken and produce farm.

He was a 1946 graduate of Grand Rapids Central High School and joined the service at 21 years of age. He was stationed in Germany for over three years as an army photographer.

Irv married the love of his life, Opal Woolworth, when he was 26 years old on December 11, 1954.

He worked a variety of jobs before moving to St. Louis, MI where he owned the Alma Sewing Center until his retirement. In February 2002, Irv and Opal moved to Portland to be closer to family, where he lived until his passing.

Irv was a strong man of faith and served many years in the churches he attended. He was a big sports fan with the Detroit Lions and Tigers being his favorite teams. His favorite movies were John Wayne Westerns.

He loved his family dearly. And his greatest joy was spending time with them. He was faithful to attend family reunions and was always up for a good game of cornhole. He even won a first-place trophy in his late eighties. He was a fierce defender of family, always concerned for the welfare of his wife and daughters till the very end. He fought to be strong and independent till his last breath.

He will be greatly missed but we find great comfort knowing He is resting in the arms of Jesus.

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. at Mount Hope Church, 845 Ionia Road, Portland. Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service. A luncheon will follow the service. Arrangements are entrusted to Lehman Funeral Homes. Online condolences may be made at


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