George Eugene Ball

January 17, 2019 6 Condolences Print Obituary

September 25, 1926 – January 12, 2019

George Ball passed away peacefully at the University of Alberta Hospital at the age of 92.

He was predeceased by his wife Kay in 2014 after 65 years together and is survived by his wife Carol and her children Laurel Paetz Smith (Peter), Teresa Koslo (Chris), Kathy MacIsaac (Ian), Martin Paetz (Laurna), Melanie Passamare and Leslie Paetz (Bruce James) plus numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; his sons Eric (Beverley) and Stephen; grandchildren Stephanie Heming (Arthur) and Simon; and his great-grandchildren: Clara, Miles and Brandt. The extended family also includes many nieces and nephews as well as their children and grandchildren.
George was an entomologist with a particular passion for ground beetles.

He was a professor at the University of Alberta for 38 years, including 10 years as Chairman of the Department of Entomology. He was a graduate advisor to many students over the years, leaving a legacy of highly skilled biologists as well as a large body of research. After retiring in 1992, he continued his work as a world renowned taxonomist and was Emeritus Curator of the E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum at the time of his passing. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, receiving the Purple Heart among other medals. A raconteur at heart, he enjoyed sharing tales of his experiences around the world, with each rendition better than the last. He took many cruises with family members in his later years, preferring the peaceful days at sea.

In accordance with George's wishes, cremation has taken place. There will be a small service for residents of Canterbury Manor on January 19, and a gathering of friends and family will be arranged in March or April to celebrate his life.

In lieu of flowers, a donation to a charity of your choice in his name would be appreciated. Favourites of his at the University of Alberta are: Kay Ball Memorial Graduate Student Research Travel Award and Martin J Paetz Memorial Graduate Award in Fisheries Management.

  1. I was so sorry to hear of the loss of George, our good neighbour and long time friend.
    We all shared the love of a wee dram of scotch and got together to share this passion from time to time. such a bright light with a great sense of humour. So sorry for you loss. Please keep me informed of the March/April gathering.

  2. Kathleen and I were very sorry to hear of George’s death, but very glad to hear that it was quick, and while he was still able to do his daily walks. George was one of the first people we met on coming to Alberta in 1959, and has been a good friend ever since. We will miss him. I will have more to say at the March/April gathering.

    • The Celebration of Life will be held at the Faculty Club, 11435 Saskatchewan Drive, on Sunday April 28 beginning at 2 p.m. We would appreciate it if you would let us know if you plan to attend by sending me an e-mail at: Stephen.rqn9z@ncf.ca

  3. Donette and I were very sad to hear of George’s passing. He was simply one of our favorite people. I remember him well shortly after my arrival at the University of Alberta in 1969. He provided me with sage advice and some well deserved constructive criticisms (e.g., “What the hell are elaphostrongylines?”) over the many years of Tuesday lunches at the Faculty Club. One of UofA’s best minds ever.

  4. Very sorry to hear of George’s passing. I first met him in 1981 when I was still in high school, and inquiring about studies in entomology at the U of A for the following year. He took time out of his busy schedule to answer all my questions. Later, I was fortunate to be in his advanced entomological taxonomy class – I loved his travel tales, particularly from South America. He always taught us to respect the local populations of people as an important source of knowledge and wisdom, which impressed me, together with his great sense of humour. My condolences to family and friends.

  5. Thanks to all who sent their condolences, either here on the website, in person, or by e-mail. Your thoughtful comments mean a great deal to all the family members. The Celebration of Life will be held at the Faculty Club, 11435 Saskatchewan Drive, on Sunday April 28 beginning at 2 p.m. We would appreciate it if you would let us know if you plan to attend by sending me an e-mail at: Stephen.rqn9z@ncf.ca

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