Marilyn Elayne Wirth Ball
Marilyn Elayne Wirth Ball, after a lifetime as a good and faithful servant, was received by her Lord on April 7. She was 66 years old. Marilyn was born on Oct. 12, 1945, in Russell, KS.
She was raised on a sheep farm in Kansas and attended country schools in Waldo for grades 1-6 and Covert for grades 7-8, where she was “a whale of a softball player” on the school’s undefeated team. She attended high school in Luray, KS, and was active as a cheerleader, pianist, and actress in school plays. Marilyn attended Bethany Nazarene College in Oklahoma, from which she graduated in 1966.
She met and married Jim Wolstenholm there in 1965, and they had two daughters, Kerri (1968) and Kristi (1974). She remarried in 1978. She and her husband, Don Ball, shared a life of love, friendship, and partnership in ministry until his death in 2009. Having been saved at her first church camp at age eight, Marilyn attended church camps every year for the rest of her life, most of those years as a counselor and children’s pastor. She was a devoted Christian and teacher who dedicated all of her life, energy, and resources to ministering to children in the name of the Lord.
Over her fifty years of church work, she directed over thirty children’s productions and ministered to more than 2500 children. Her most recent production was the Easter weekend egg hunt at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, where she has served as Children’s Pastor for over two decades. As Children’s Pastor, she took teams to compete at the World Quiz Bowl at Nazarene General Assembly in 2001, 2005, and 2009. Through the years she has served as a Sunday school teacher, camp counselor, youth group leader, single women’s group leader, minister to young married couples, member of the van ministry team, and—most notably—as a member of the pastoral team.
More broadly, she shared the love of Christ with all people with whom she came into contact, among them her classroom students throughout 38 years of classroom teaching in public schools in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. She spent the last 23 years as a fourth grade and Plus Teaming teacher at Little Cypress-Mauriceville Intermediate. She has been honored for her teaching by numerous organizations. The awards include Walmart Teacher of the Year for 2001 and nomination for the Reaud Excellence in Education Award by Faculty in 2009. She has also been honored for her church work many times. Most recently, she received the Kids First Award for Excellence in Ministry to Children from the South Texas District of the Church of the Nazarene in April 2011.
Characteristic of Marilyn, though, she minimized her personal accolades and emphasized that spreading the good news of Christ was her sole calling and motivation. Her favorite quotation was Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
She was preceded in death by her father, Francis Marion Wirth; her father-in-law, Cleon Ball; and her husband, Don Ball.
She is survived by her children, Kerri Bell (James) and Kristi Wolstenholm; her grandchildren, Christian and Phoebe Bell; her mother, Beth Wirth Bennett (Walter); her mother-in-law, Capitola Ball; her stepchildren, Cheri Edmondson and Jeff Ball; and her current fourth-grade Safari Adventure classroom students.
Services to celebrate and honor her life will be held at 6:30 pm Tuesday, April 10, at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, with the Rev. K. Ray McDowell officiating.
Services and cremation held under the direction of Dorman Funeral Home.
Honorary pallbearers are James Bell, Christian Bell, Michael Hanneman, Robert Hanneman, Michael Hanneman, Jr., and Matthew Hanneman.
In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations to The Marilyn Ball “Send A Kid to Camp” Fund, c/o Orange First Church of the Nazarene 3810 Martin Luther King Dr. Orange, TX 77632. You may sign the guest book at www.dormanfuneralhome.com