Balls Food Stores, founded by his parents in 1923, operates 28 stores — 13 Hen House Markets and 15 Balls Price Choppers. Ball began working at his parents' store when he was 10, keeping the potato bin filled; he became a store manager in 1954 shortly after graduating with a business degree from the University of Kansas and was named president in the mid-1960s. He became chairman of Balls Food Stores when his son David became president and chief executive officer.
Ball also spent 28 years as chairman of AWG, from 1977 through 2004. He was a member of the Food Marketing Institute board of directors from 1995 to 2005, and last January he received FMI's Sidney R. Rabb Award for exceptional service to the community and strong advocacy on behalf of the industry.
He is survived by his wife, Jo Ann; three children; and seven grandchildren.