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Published: Thursday, 12/7/2006

Businessman owned firms, loved boating

Thomas R. Ball, 75, a former business owner and a former commodore of the Toledo Yacht Club, died of cancer Tuesday in his Sylvania Township home.

Mr. Ball was a founding partner of A&B Tool Manufacturing Corp., a tool-and-die company, which he co-owned for a time when it was in Holland until selling his share.

He also was a founder of the former Weld 1 Inc., a welding supplies and industrial gases company in Northwood, which he co-owned since its inception in the mid-1970s until selling it about 10 years later to AGA Gas, a Swedish welding supplies and industrial gases company.

He later was the branch manager for AGA Gas in Northwood until retiring in 1991.

Before going into his own businesses, he was a salesman and a sales manager for the former Welders Needs Inc., a welding supplies company in Toledo in the 1960s and 1970s.

Mr. Ball was a past president of the American Welding Society, which named him the Man of the Year in the late 1990s.

An avid boater, he served two 12-month terms as the commodore of the yacht club, in 1995 and 1996.

"Tom was honest. He was a man of integrity," his wife, Barbara, said. "He loved people. He loved to meet people. And he would always tell stories about his business experience, about people he met, and just about growing up in East Toledo - you name it."

He also was an advisor and welding instructor at the former Macomber High School in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Over the years, Mr. Ball was a Boy Scout troop leader in the 1950s, a volunteer counselor for the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, and a volunteer builder for the Habitat for Humanity in the summers of 2005 and 2006.

A Toledo native, Mr. Ball attended the former Macomber High School. He later took courses in a variety of subjects at the University of Toledo before starting his career in sales at Welders Needs.

In the early 1950s, Mr. Ball married Hazel Stokes. She died in 1982. In 1984, he married Barbara Borgen.

In retirement, Mr. Ball enjoyed family vacations, traveling, boating, woodworking, playing cards, and following the news in the media. He was a charter member of Christ Presbyterian Church, where he was a former elder and deacon and served on several committees.

Surviving are his wife of 22 years, Barbara; daughters, Kathleen Leson, Darlene Easter, and Sharon Bergland; son, Thomas Ball III; stepson, Robb Borgen; brothers, Morris Ball and Harold Ball; sister, Rebecca Davey, and eight grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 6:30 p.m. today at the Walker Funeral Home, 5155 West Sylvania Ave., where a Blue Gavel ceremony will be at 6:45 p.m. today. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Christ Presbyterian Church, 4225 West Sylvania Ave.

The family suggests tributes to Christ Presbyterian Church or the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

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