At 90, Bishop Ball is All Saints’ Episcopal Superman

June 21, 2016 - table lamp

Bishop Ball reflects on branch 90 and portion as shepherd of a Albany Episcopal parish for many years (Paul Grondahl / Times Union)

Media: / Times Union


After he fell and pennyless his neck 4 years ago, a surgeon told Bishop David Ball: “You’re not ostensible to be alive.”

On Saturday night, 250 well-wishers from as distant divided as Boston distinguished a 90th birthday of a late 7th bishop of a Albany Episcopal parish during a celebration during a Fort Orange Club. A receiving line never waned for a dear righteous guide of a Cathedral of All Saints, a one they call “Superman.”

“The damage a bishop postulated when he had his tumble took Superman Christopher Reeve from us (at 52 in 2004),” pronounced Charles Dumas, 62, who was baptized by Ball during age 6 and who has served as treasurer and in other care posts during a landmark cathedral. “David Ball is in many ways, generally spiritually, a Superman.”

In his room during a Loudonville Assisted Living Residence, Ball sat in a favorite rocking chair on Friday beside an antique flare and finish list piled with dedicated texts: Holy Bible, The Book of Common Prayer, St. Augustine’s Prayer Book, Daily Office Book.

  • Bishop Ball, late conduct of a Episcopal diocese, who incited 90 and survived a tumble and damaged neck during an talk during his Loudonville Assisted Living unit Friday Jun 17, 2016 in Albany, NY.  (John Carl D'Annibale / Times Union) Photo: John Carl D'Annibale / 40037016A



A survivor of thyroid cancer and a damaged neck, Ball doesn’t dwell on a macular lapse that is solemnly robbing him of his eyesight and a good pleasure of reading.

“It usually takes me longer, generally a divine stuff,” he said, motioning to dual volumes of “Morning Homilies” by Pope Francis, that he parcels out one oration a day. On a lounge was a duplicate of “Mickey and Willie,” that explores a supernatural parallels between round greats Mantle and Mays.

Ball reflected on his doubtful trail to pontiff of 120 parishes widespread opposite 19 counties between Pennsylvania and a Adirondacks.

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Ordained an Episcopal clergyman in 1953, he served as vanguard of a cathedral from 1960 to 1984 and bishop from 1984 to 1998, when he reached a imperative retirement age of 72. He’s now bishop-in-residence.

“He’s warm, kind, demure and dear by so many people who cruise him their shepherd,” pronounced Marlene Elacqua, Ball’s late executive assistant. “He’s a people chairman who connects with people of all faiths and opposite a domestic spectrum. My kids contend he’s like everybody’s grandfather.”

In a impulse of reflection, Ball removed recommendation he offering many decades ago to a immature priest: “Love your people and contend your prayers.”

He has used what he preached.

“He’s positively loyal to his nature. There’s no unprincipled and no front with him,” pronounced Eugene Garber, a late University during Albany English highbrow and a 40-year member of All Saints who has headed replacement fundraising campaigns with Ball. “He’s included with good humanity. There’s nobody with whom he can’t connect.”

With a gravelly voice and street-level pragmatism abandoned of any pomposity, Ball is someone you’d wish to find subsequent to we on a bar stool, sipping a drink or scotch and examination a round game.

David Standish Ball grew adult in Menands, a second of 4 brothers. Raised in a righteous family, a party served as tabernacle boys during St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church subsequent to their house. They were a rough-and-tumble fruit who taught themselves to ski on a hills around city and snuck by a hole in a blockade to watch a Albany Senators during Hawkins Stadium.

His father done Ball lift his possess switch from a backyard willow tree when his hijinks went too far.

He was a blond towhead given a nickname “Dutch,” that stuck. He was an All-City catcher during a former Milne High School in Albany, captain of a basketball group and voted many jaunty in his class. He graduated in 1943 and enlisted in a Navy during 18 during World War II. He was tone blind and memorized an eye draft to pass an opening exam.

He was sent to sight as an electrician. “I can’t change a light bulb,” he laughed. He memorized a colors of a wires and a usually movement he saw during a fight was when his skipper ran into another boat anchored in New York Harbor. The boat went into drydock for repairs, a captain was relieved of his duties and Ball sailed on.

Discharged after a war, he complicated domestic scholarship during Colgate University. “I struggled with a vocational things a prolonged time before we motionless to turn a priest,” he said. Although Episcopal priests can marry, he never did.

“I motionless to sojourn innocent and to persevere myself to a priesthood,” he said. “I adore women and can tell we it’s not easy. we motionless we was going to go all in and give my whole life to Christ. we can’t explain it any improved than that.”

He praised his mentor, Bishop Frederick Barry, who reserved him to All Saints and once authorised Ball to listen to a Giants-Dodgers round diversion personification gently on a radio during a righteous shelter as a immature priest.

Some of Ball’s toughest work as bishop came in lifting $5 million for ongoing replacement of a 1887 English-style All Saints cathedral with drifting buttresses and overwhelming stained-glass windows. He also had to glow priests for passionate abuse of minors and some went to prison, including a married male with children. When allegations with consequence surfaced, Ball fast contacted law coercion and a district profession to start an investigation.

“He dealt with it in a quick and candid manner,” Elacqua said.

“They were rapist matters and we got a correct authorities involved,” Ball said.

Of late, Ball has played a purpose of dove on a emanate of same-sex marriage, that roiled a parish and caused some members to leave All Saints in criticism over Bishop William Love’s antithesis to final summer’s 78th ubiquitous gathering of a Episcopal Church that endorsed matrimony equality.

“Healing is holding place and some people who left have returned,” pronounced Dumas, who removed a relocating Sunday rite that memorialized a victims of a mass sharpened that killed 49 in an Orlando happy nightclub and offering prayerful support of a LGBT community.

“The settlement that’s function is a special thing,” Dumas said. “It’s partial of a relaxing outcome of Bishop Ball.”

Credit a powers of a cathedral’s Superman.


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