Floyd R. Ball
Lifelong Seneca-area resident Floyd Ray Ball passed from this life peacefully at his home early Saturday, July 2, 2016, with the love of his life, Ann, by his side. He was 84 years old. The couple were nearing their 64th wedding anniversary, a marriage that produced four children, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Floyd Ray Ball was born at home in the Desi area near Seneca on January 14, 1932. He was the fifth of six children born to Corbett Franklin Ball and Myrtle Price Ball. Floyd attended Desi Schools and worked throughout his childhood on the family's farm. As a teenager, he would go to Kansas to labor during summer wheat harvest. At the age of 19, Floyd proudly enlisted in the U.S. Army, earning the rank of Sgt. in Battery C, 320th Airborne at Fort Benning, Ga. He completed Infantry School and, as a natural daredevil, trained as a paratrooper. He earned the Parachutist Badge and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal. He received an honorable discharge in 1954. It was while he was stationed at Fort Benning that he married his beloved wife, a sweet Alabama girl. Floyd and Annie Lois Knight were united in marriage on September 2, 1952 in Phenix City, Ala. To their union of 63 years and 10 months were born four children -- Floyd Ray Jr., Anita Gail, Yvonne, and Randy Allen. The couple lived near Fort Benning until Floyd's completion of service, then briefly in California before settling back at home near rural Seneca to raise their family and spend their lives together. Floyd was jack of all trades. He was a brick layer, a steel plant worker and a farmer, among many other skills. One of the most important things to him was providing for his wife and family and teaching his children the value of hard work. At 35, he decided to be a self-made man and became a dairy farmer at his own Circle B Ranch. By his mid-40s, he was able to retire from farming and become an entrepreneur. He found a way to turn his hobbies into a steady living, restoring classic cars -- from early-model Fords all the way up to a fleet of 1950s-60s Cadillacs, which were his passion. Floyd later went back to his farming roots and his love for the Old West lifestyle. He operated Circle B Buggies & Wagons for several years, training teams of horses and restoring and building from scratch everything from covered wagons to luxury custom stagecoaches. Circle B was thought to be the nation's biggest seller in the industry. Floyd's craftsmanship was sought out by buyers, including dignitaries, who would come from all over the country to his shop outside Seneca. When he wasn't working, Floyd and Ann loved to travel together. They went coast to coast in their RV, usually mapping out their trips so they could make several stops to see extended family. Colorado was one of their favorite places to visit, as well as his sister Dorothy's house in central Missouri. Floyd was an avid fisherman, a sport he shared with his brother Charley, and he traveled across the South to hook the biggest and best. He also knew a thing or two about "fish tales." A storyteller by instinct, so much so it could have been his trade, Floyd loved to entertain friends and family by telling about his experiences, mainly his youth in the Depression era. And sometimes, he'd toss in a few story enhancements to make it a little more "captivating" for his audience. Above all, however, he'd tell you the greatest story he knew was the story of Jesus, who he accepted as his personal Savior and spent the remainder his life worshipping as a Christian. For many years he and Ann taught adult Sunday School classes together and volunteered with nursing home outreach. Floyd often ended family prayers with, "In Jesus' name... and we can't wait to see you again." On Saturday, Floyd went to heaven to see his Lord. He was preceded in death by both his parents; siblings Richard, Charley, Iva and Frank; a newborn daughter, Yvonne; and a daughter-in-law, Pamela Hopper Ball. Floyd is survived by his wife, Ann, of the home; two sons, Floyd Ray Ball Jr. and his wife, Jane, of Seneca, and Randy Ball and his wife, Debbie, of Cleveland, Okla.; and daughter Anita Walker and her husband Jamie, of Broken Arrow, Okla.; sister Dorothy Jones, of Paris, Mo.; grandchildren Corey Ball and Chris Ball, of Seneca; Brandi Ball, of Cleveland, Okla.; Blake O'Brien, of Richmond, Va.; Kristen Kendrick, of Glenpool, Okla.; Lindsay Head, of Houston; and Mikeal Ball, of Tulsa; plus seven great-grandchildren and a loving host of nieces, nephews and cousins. Visitation will be held at Campbell-Biddlecome Funeral Home on Wed., July 6, from 5:30-7 p.m. Floyd's life will be celebrated in a memorial service at Seneca's Bethel Baptist Church at 10 a.m. on Thurs., July 7. Pallbearers for the service will be grandsons and grandsons-in-law Corey Ball, Chris Ball, Blake O'Brien, Mikeal Ball, Brock Kendrick and Zach Head. Immediately following the service will be interment with full military honors at Swars Prairie Baptist Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association.