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Dr. Ronald F. Ball, retired U.S. Navy Captain and Naval Aviator, launched on his final flight 13 July 2013, as he soared into the sky to rendezvous with his Lord in Heaven.

Ron was born in Port Sanilac, Mich., on July 26, 1937, to his now deceased father, Clarence Ball, and his surviving mother, Elizabeth (Schommer) Ball. He was also predeceased by his high school sweetheart and devoted wife of 41 years, Beverley (Gildersleeve) Ball.

Dr. Ball graduated from Miami University (Ohio) in 1959 as a Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Economics and commissioned as an Ensign through Naval ROTC at Miami. As a Naval Aviator he flew photo reconnaissance and fighter aircraft including 200 combat missions over Vietnam. One of the originators of “Top Gun” in the late 1960s, he went on to command both a Fighter Squadron and an entire Carrier Air Wing. Other naval assignments included receiving a Master’s Degree from Harvard University, attending the Naval War College, and working at both the Pentagon and State Department. Following his final assignment as Commander of the Naval ROTC Unit at the University of Pennsylvania, he retired from the Navy in 1985 and attended medical school at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, School of Optometry, graduating as a Doctor of Optometry in 1989.

Dr. Ball moved to Tappahannock, Va., in 1999 to continue his practice. Dr. Ball met and married Brenda (Hinton) Ball in 2002 with whom he shared 11 joyful and loving years of devoted marriage.

Dr. Ball is survived by his dear wife Brenda; his son Jeff; daughter-in-law Lisa; loving daughter Melissa Mancuso; grandsons; Brian and Stephen, as well as brothers, Gordon and Dale Ball; sister, Carol (Ball) Malloy, and a host of other beloved family members. He was predeceased by his brother, Richard Ball.

A viewing will be held Friday, July 19, in the Marks-Bristow Funeral Home, Tappahannock, from 7-9 p.m. The funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Tappahannock, Va., on Saturday, July 20, 2013, at 10 a.m. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, P.O. Box 129, Tappahannock, Va. 22560 or Bon Secours Hospice, Hampton Roads, 485 Rodman Ave., Portsmouth, Va. 23707.