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John S. Ball

by Susan J. Ainsworth
June 17, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 24

John S. Ball, 98, a retired director at the Bureau of Mines, died on Dec. 30, 2012, in Denver.

Born in Hamlin, Texas, Ball earned a B.S. in chemical engineering in 1934 and a master’s degree in organic chemistry in 1936, both from Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University), in Lubbock. He worked toward a Ph.D. at the University of Colorado, Boulder, from 1936 until 1937.

Ball then joined the Bureau of Mines, in Laramie, Wyo., where he directed the American Petroleum Institute-sponsored Research Projects 48 and 52, which studied sulfur compounds and nitrogen compounds, respectively, in petroleum. He served as head of petroleum research at the site from 1955 until 1963, when he became director of the Bartlesville Petroleum Research Center, in Oklahoma. After retiring in 1978, he worked as a consultant.

Ball was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1943. He helped organize the Wyoming Section, served as a councilor, and was active in numerous committees. Ball was a fellow of the American Institute of Chemists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of many other professional organizations.

He is survived by his son, John; daughters Ruth Lynch, Margaret Green, Mary Whyte, and Annette Rigsby; 15 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia, and daughter Janet Baston.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.



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