Louise Ball, teacher, Dundalk school crossing guard, dies at 75

January 18, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

All Louise M. Ball ever wanted to do was work with children. For 25 years, she did just that.

Mrs. Ball was a Harford County substitute teacher for 20 years but was probably better known as the "second mom" to hundreds of youngsters in her duties as a crossing guard near a Dundalk elementary school.

Mrs. Ball, 75, who died Thursday of cancer at her Dundalk home, was one of 29 women who were the first female crossing guards employed by the Baltimore County police.

Dressed in a navy blue uniform, orange belt and police-style cap, Mrs. Ball stood sentry before and after school at the old Patapsco Neck Elementary School on Holabird Avenue in Dundalk from 1954 until about 1960.

"She always liked working with kids," said her son, James F. Myers of Fallston. "She seemed to have it in her to be a good crossing guard."

Former Patapsco Neck students and longtime Dundalk residents remembered Mrs. Ball as caring but a strict disciplinarian and someone not afraid to slap a youngster's hand if he played while crossing the street or to stare down motorists who didn't slow when she told them to.

"There was never a question about who was in control there," said Rita Genrette, who has lived in the area for nearly 50 years. "She was. No doubt."

But she was also compassionate.

"She made sure we were bundled up, and if we weren't, she'd send us back home," said Judith Resnick, who lives in Dundalk and was a student at the school during Mrs. Ball's tenure as a crossing guard.

"She was like a second mom. She always asked if we had had breakfast and got to know all of us and our parents, too. She knew everyone by name."

In March 1954, she was cited by the county police for her quick action in helping four workers who were injured in an underground sewer explosion near her patrol area. She was first at the scene and gave medical assistance until paramedics arrived.

A native of Dundalk, the former Louise DiGiacomo graduated from Kenwood High School in 1939. In 1942, she married James H. Myers, who died in 1972. In 1984, she married Melvin J. Ball, who died in 1989.

She moved to Fallston in 1959 and was a substitute teacher for the Harford County school system. She moved back to Dundalk in 1984. She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, American Legion and the Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society. She was a volunteer tutor at Norwood Elementary School.

Services are scheduled for noon tomorrow at Connelly Funeral Home of Dundalk, 7110 Sollers Point Road.

In addition to her son, survivors include two daughters, Pamela Russo of Edgewood and Denise Myers of Dundalk; two brothers, Frank DiGiacomo of Dundalk and Jim DiGiacomo of Baltimore County; three sisters, Elizabeth Pedrick of Stevensonville, Amelia Gill of Edgewood and Lee Stewart of Dundalk; and five grandchildren.

Pub Date: 1/18/98

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