Clifton B. Ball, 69, city schools official

March 07, 2006|By JACQUES KELLY | JACQUES KELLY,SUN REPORTER

Clifton Bernard Ball, a retired educator who had been an assistant Baltimore public schools superintendent, died of congestive heart failure Wednesday at Sinai Hospital. The Northwest Baltimore resident was 69.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Fulton Avenue, he was a 1953 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in education from what is now Coppin State University and a master's degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. He later became an adjunct professor of education at Coppin.

He began teaching in the city school system in the 1950s and later had assignments as principal of Cherry Hill, Grove Park, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Harford Heights elementary schools.

"He was an inspirational teacher," said political consultant Arthur Murphy, who was his pupil in the fifth and sixth grades at Cherry Hill. "Twenty years ago, some of us, his students, held a thank-you event for him. He was that special."

Mr. Ball retired in 1997 as an assistant superintendent for the Northwest area, after assignments as associate superintendent for early childhood education and director of elementary instruction.

"He was an excellent teacher," said Anne O. Emery, a retired assistant schools superintendent. "So many people come out of teaching and don't do well as an administrator, but he excelled. He was loved by his staff."

He was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and chaired the Baltimore chapter's education committee. He also belonged to the prayer breakfast committee.

Mr. Ball was among the organizers of Potter's House, a building at Fulton Avenue and Winchester Street where neighborhood children learn computer skills after school.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at First Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1142 N. Fulton Ave., where he was a past Sunday school superintendent and president of its usher board, among other offices.

Survivors include his wife of nearly 50 years, the former Mary Ann Wise, a retired Queen Anne's County and Baltimore public schools teacher; a daughter, Karen Blackstone; two brothers, Richard Ball and Ford Ball; two sisters, Almeta Hardy and Mary Jones; and a granddaughter. All are of Baltimore.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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