Florence Helen Campbell Ball was born in Brazil, Ind., on July 12, 1913, a day so hot that her father hung a garden hose to spray down the screens in the bedroom.
Her 100th birthday on Friday may not be that hot, but she'll still be surrounded by family, with a dinner that evening, a party and Ball family reunion Saturday and a bus tour Sunday of the former Ball-Herford Farms in Zelienople and Mars.
Her parents were Emma and John Campbell. She graduated from high school at age 15 and studied stenography at Wabash Commercial College and held various jobs until she became secretary to the director of the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce and Defense Council.
She met Hiram Ball of Pittsburgh on a blind date when he was a sales representative in Indianapolis. After two years in Indiana, he returned to Pittsburgh to work for the family business, Ball Chemical Co. For three years, they saw each other only once a year, when Mr. Ball visited his brother in Indianapolis. They never called or wrote to each other, according to their daughter, Susan Ball of Shaler.
"Once he got established and things settled down, his thoughts turned to marriage," she said. He proposed over the phone from the University Club and they were married on Oct. 16, 1943. In addition to Susan Ball, they had a son, Hiram Jr. of Orleans, Mass., and another daughter, Victoria, who is deceased. Hiram Ball Sr. passed away in 1999 after 56 years of marriage.
Mrs. Ball was a past president and charter member of the North Hills Suburban Fine Arts League and named Woman of the Year for the Women's Club of Southern Butler County for furnishing Middlesex Elementary School's teachers lounge and setting up the cafeteria. She was president of the Mars High School Band Boosters and president and board member of the North Hills Library. She was also a Cub Scout den mother and helped arrange flowers for Glade Run United Presbyterian Church.
While living at St. Barnabas Retirement Village, she was a floor coordinator and greeter and sang in the Choristers. She now resides at St. Barnabas Arbors in Richland. At her party there Saturday, state Sen. Randy Vulakovich, R-Shaler, will present senatorial and gubernatorial proclamations marking her 100th birthday. Mrs. Ball has two grandsons and two great-grandchildren.
If you or a friend or a relative recently turned 100 or will soon do so, the Post-Gazette would like to hear from you. To be included in Century Club, send the honoree's biographical information and your phone number to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Century Club, Attn: Kevin Kirkland, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Fax: 412-491-8452. Email: email@example.com.