Derwin Roy Ball was born in Greenbrier, Arkansas, on Oct. 28, 1926. He was the older son of James Roy and Louisa Delia (Elliott) Ball. He had one younger brother, Doyne. The family moved to Conway, Arkansas, and he graduated from Conway High in 1944. During his junior high years, he joined the Boy Scout Troop 71 at the Conway First United Methodist Church. Because of the strong influence of his troop leader, Derwin started attending that church and became a devoted Christian for the rest of his life.
Derwin enlisted in the Navy after his high school graduation. He served from 1944 to 1946, serving as a bombardier on long-range seaplane patrol bombers. Upon his honorable discharge in 1946, he enrolled in Hendrix College, where he earned a degree in health and physical education. He was a varsity athlete, lettering in football, basketball, and track. Also during those years, he met Blanche Estelle Foreman, and they married in August 1949.
Their first jobs after college were to be teachers on the staff of Alma High School in Arkansas. But during their first year of teaching, Derwin was called back into active service for the Korean War. During this service time, Derwin earned a commission, and upon release from active duty he continued his career in the Navy Reserve, serving a total of 42 years. He entered his military service as a Seaman Recruit, and he retired a Commander in 1986.
Derwin’s military and later civil service career gave he and Blanche opportunities to call many different places home. They lived in Alameda, California; Danville, Arkansas; North Little Rock, Arkansas; Lincoln, Nebraska; Leavenworth, Kansas; Berlin, Germany; and back to Leavenworth. During those years they had four children, two of whom passed away before age two of cystic fibrosis. Their youngest two children, Marsha and Brit, both grew to adulthood, although Marsha died of cystic fibrosis at age 41.
Blanche and Derwin loved each other dearly and personified the ideal of cleaving to each other through the joys and challenges of marriage. They retired back to their beloved Arkansas in 1997 and made their home in Springhill since then. They enjoyed spending time with old friends, working in their garden and flower beds, and volunteering at many church ministries and community service organizations. For many years, they spent the winter months in Mission, TX, and had a group of dear friends there through their church and volunteer work. Derwin was the embodiment of honest and ethical leadership, hard work for the betterment of others, and devotion and love for family. His steadfast spirit will forever be a shining light for our family.
Derwin is preceded in death by his parents; his wife Blanche of 71 years; children, Rodney, Louann, and Marsha; and his brother, Doyne. He is survived by his son, Brit (Linda); grandchildren, Alex Ball, Michael Waldo, Ryan Ball, and Elizabeth Chaisson; and three great-grandchildren.
Due to Covid restrictions, there will be a brief family-only inurnment, with a memorial service to be determined at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the charity of your choice, or to the Conway First United Methodist Church Food Pantry or Music Department.
Online Guestbook available at www.rollerfuneral homes.com/greenbrier