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Published: Saturday, 7/8/2006

Ottawa mother supported U.S. troops

OTTAWA, Ohio - Evelyn L. Ball, 85, a homemaker who made it a personal quest to support U.S. military personnel fighting overseas during the Vietnam War, died Thursday in her residence here of myocardial infarction from hypertension.

Known locally as Mrs. Vietnam at the time, Mrs. Ball sent letters and packages she put together to 77 service members who fought in Vietnam in the mid to late-1960s.

She did that because it helped soothe the pain of experiencing the deaths of two sons in car accidents, her daughter, Rosie Sutter, said.

Mrs. Ball's son Tom was killed in 1963, at about age 16 before his senior year in high school. Her son Duane was killed in 1967 after his sophomore year in college, Mrs. Sutter said.

"She was a very caring and a very sharing person," Mrs. Sutter said. "She was loved by many."

Mrs. Ball also gave gift packages to the less fortunate in Ottawa during the holiday season every year, her daughter said.

A native of Ottawa, Mrs. Ball, whose maiden name was Frey, graduated from Ottawa High School in 1939 and later was a secretary for the former Ohio Fish and Game Conservation in Ottawa.

In 1946, she married Francis Ball and became a homemaker.

Mrs. Ball also was a waitress in the 1960s, first at Tony's Dairy Queen and later at Red Top Pizza, both in Ottawa.

Mrs. Ball enjoyed collecting Cabbage Patch dolls, music boxes, brooches, and cookbooks.

Mrs. Ball was a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Ottawa.

Surviving are her husband, Francis; sons, Jim and Kevin; daughter, Rosie Sutter; brother, Clarence Frey; five grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Ottawa. The body will be in the Love Funeral Home, Ottawa, after 2 p.m. tomorrow, with a Scripture service at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to Putnam County Home Health and Hospice, Putnam Acres Care Center, or a charity of the donor's choice.

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