Howard Ball Jr., Former Trends Editor, Dies at 82

Pompton Lakes man a former chaplain of Bloomingdale Fire Department.

The following is a death notice for Howard L. Ball Jr., of Pompton Lakes, submitted by the Richards Funeral Home, in Riverdale.

Ball, Howard L. Jr., born on July 3, 1929 in Haskell, NJ and lived since he was 6 months old in Pompton Lakes, NJ.

Mr. Ball, an award-winning community newspaperman, was the long-time executive editor and a much-beloved columnist for the Suburban Trends. Generations of readers in northern Passaic County and eastern Morris County relied upon the work of Mr. Ball and his staff as their primary source for news and information about the daily events, large and small, in their hometowns.

In his popular “Bits & Pieces” column, he lovingly shared his personal stories about families, friends and neighbors, often noting the birthdays of the waitresses at his favorite eateries, the retirement of school lunch ladies, the kid down the block who did a good deed. A dedicated civic and religious leader in northern New Jersey throughout his life, Mr. Ball, was a past president and engine captain of the Pompton Lakes Fire Department, as well as a volunteer firefighter with the Greenwood Forest Fire Company in West Milford.

In his retirement, he served as Chaplain for the Pompton Lakes Fire Department, Riverdale Fire Department, , West Milford Company 4 Macopin Blacksheep, Riverdale Police Department, Passaic County Fire Academy and Passaic County Mutual Aid Society. He was the Executive Director of the Upper Passaic County Community Action program where he pioneered  the Meals-on-Wheels and the Congregate Feeding programs, as well as an Assembly of God minister who led congregations in both and Edgewater, NJ and past president of the Butler Rotary Club and Tri-Boro Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and could trace his ancestry to Minute-Men who fought in the Battle of Lexington and Concord. A Lifetime Award recipient from the Pompton Lakes Republican Club, confidant and advisor to a diverse range of political leaders including U.S. Reps Robert A. Roe, a Democrat and Dean Gallo, a Republican.

A member of numerous other political and volunteer organizations, Mr. Ball also was 25-year member of the local U.S. Congressional selection committee for the national service academies, and former master sergeant with the Michigan National Guard. Mr. Ball was a 1947 graduate of Pompton Lakes High School, where he was president of the Cardinals Marching Band and Outstanding Senior Boy. A 1951 graduate of Western Michigan University, he was a member of the Beta Beta Beta fraternity and mentor for the freshman class. While at Western Michigan, he built a  bootleg radio station in his dorm room, which launched his life-long passion for radio,  including turns as “Jeff Lane on the Street of Dreams” at WKMI in Kalamazoo, MI; “Coffee Time With Uncle Howie ,” broadcast from Lakeview Lanes in West Milford; and various news and entertainment spots on radio stations including WTTM, WCTC, WKER, WNNJ and WGHT.

Mr. Ball was the son of Howard L. Ball, Sr.  a textile worker and union local vice president in Pompton Lakes,  and Harriet V (Stephens) Ball, both predeceased. He is survived by his five children, Guy D. Ball,  Mark Griffith, Diane (Grant) Mone, Patricia Mitchell (Ball) Stephanie Bassler, (Ball), 11 Grandchildren Nicholas, Alexander, Daniel, Debbie, Michael, Erich, Stephen, Kelly, Kim,  Thomas and Sara. He had 10 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren. Funeral service 10 AM Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at the Richards Funeral Home, 4 Newark Pompton Turnpike, Riverdale, NJ. Interment at North Hardyston Cemetery, Hamburg, NJ.

Friends may call on Tuesday from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and 7 p.m.-9 p.m. 

Richard Dean June 05, 2012 at 08:14 PM
I met Howard Ball back in the fall of 1969 while in my senior year at Butler HS through my mother who wrote the then local social column for Butler and later Pompton Lakes too. There had been vandalism to 3 of Butler's cemeterires with arrests made and so I submitted photos of the damage. Howard mentiored my desire to enter the world of journalism and so I became an intern reporter/photographer under his leadership. It was a really great experience but by the end of summer 1970 I did somehting immature and stupid so he fired me. During the past decades I got to tell Howard many times that he was one of the greatest influences on my life. If he had not fired me 42 years ago, I might never had found my way to my true career as a dispatcher and telecommuicator for the emergency and public services of Buttler, Bloomingdale and Kinnelon, Howard Ball had an impact on countless lives and events in our area and I am grateful for that.
Barry Smith June 06, 2012 at 04:41 PM
In 1968 I landed the job as Pequannock High School Sports reporter for the Suburban Trends. I had my own camera equipment and took all my own pictures but I didn't own a typewriter, and wrote all of my copy in longhand. One evening after filing my weeks worth of stories, the sports editor broke the news to me. Because the stories weren't typed, and my handwriting wasn't the most legible, they were going to have to let me go... I turned and walked out his office, my head hung low, I was devastated. Then I heard this gruff voice boom from one of the offices: "HEY KID!" That's when I first met Howard Ball. I answered, "Yes?" "Do you know how to print?" he asked. "Yes", I replied. "THEN PRINT EM'!" he called back, his voice loud enough for the whole floor to hear... Howard gave me my first break as a writer, and later, when I went to work for the Trends as their night shift composing room supervisor, he allowed me on several occassions to pull some stringer assignments. I later had the pleasure of working with his daughter Stephanie at the Paterson Evening News... I'm eternally grateful for having had the experience of working with, and having known him. My sympathies and best wishes go out to the Ball family and those who will feel his loss...


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