Col. Lola Ball
Published 9:10 am Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Col. Lola Mae Ball, USAF Nurse Corps, Retired. went home to be with the Lord on Friday, May 15, 2015, in Boerne, Texas, her retirement home for the last 40 years.
Lola Mae, known as “Mae” to her family, was born on March 22, 1931, at home in Angie to James Alton and Mildred (Brown) Ball as the fifth of 10 children. She was raised on the family farm, attended Angie Elementary and High School and was a member of the Angie Baptist Church. Though her career and later life would take her far from her Washington Parrish, she would always cherish her close-knit family and visits back “home.”
In 1951, she graduated from Baton Rouge General Hospital Nursing School. She joined the Air Force Nurse Corps in 1953 as a second lieutenant with her first duty assignment at Tinker AFB, Okla. She earned her flight nurse wings at Gunter AFB, Ala., later that year.
Her next assignments took her to Goosebay, Labrador, and Wiesbaden, Germany, Sheppard AFB, Texas, and the University of Colorado at Boulder earning a B.S. nursing degree. In 1964, she was assigned as flight nurse, aeromedical evacuations, Scott AFT, Ill. and promoted to major.
From November 1965 to July 1967 she was assigned as chief nurse, 57th Aeoromedical Evacaution Squadron, Clark AFB, Phillipines, where she directed the evacuation of wounded soldiers from Vietnam. She received several honors for her extraordinary leadership as chief nurse. She was featured in an ABC television documentary, “To Save a Soldier,” in 1967; featured in a Reader’s Digest article, “Our Flying Nightingales in Vietnam”; made a Citizen of New Orleans and given a key to the city; a proclamation from Angie; and 1968 Nurse of the Year Award from the Air Force Association. These honors all commended Col. Ball for her leadership and selfless devotion to wounded servicemen in Vietnam.
Her next assignments were to Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas and promotion to lieutenant colonel, Holloman AFB Hospital, N.M., as chief nurse and in 1970 to Dyess AFB Hospital, Texas, as chief nurse, where she was promoted to colonel, below the zone in 1971.
In 1973, Col. Ball retired to the Texas Hill Country where she was active in the Society of Air Force Nurses, volunteered at the Cibolo Nature Center and supplied friends with produce from her award-winning gardens.
Her frequent trips to Louisiana were always a time of joy: doting on nieces and nephews, family reunions with much food, love and reminiscing about “growing up on the farm,” and always entertaining her family with her love of laughter and great sense of humor.
Mae was preceded in death by her parents, James and Mildred Ball; her sisters, Rava Nell Ezell Davis and Donis Bernelda Fornea; and her brothers, Alton Doyle Ball and James Paul Ball.
Mae is survived by her sisters, Lacy Strohschein Doss and husband Kenneth of Zachary, Edith Rose Hutchinson and husband Charles of Baton Rouge and Trudy McKenzie Williams of Baton Rouge; her brothers, Basil Ball of Angie and Gilbert Renon Ball and wife Peggy of Angie; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews; and family friend, Col. Bettie Edmonds of Boerne.
Visitation will be Wednesday, May 20, 2015, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home in Boerne, Texas. A second visitation will take place in Angie at Angie Baptist Church on Saturday, May 23, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The funeral will begin at 11 a.m. followed by burial at Bonnie Cemetery in Angie.
To leave condolences for the family and to view a video of Mae’s life, visit www.ebensberger-fisher.com and select the “Obituaries” tab.
Arrangements are with Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home of Boerne.