Service measured not by GOLD,
                           but by the GOLDEN RULE

Service measured not by GOLD,
          but by the GOLDEN RULE


Richard Louis Ball, beloved husband, father, gramps, and great granddad passed away gently April 21, 2024. He was 87 years old.

Rich was born January 10, 1937, to Elmer and Peggy Ball and lived his whole life in Wooster. He had very fond memories of fishing and hunting mushrooms with his dad and grandfather, Louis Paris. Grandpa Louis often took young Richard with him as he tended lawns along Quinby Avenue and when he cleaned and polished the brass in churches along Market Street. Rich talked about this nearly every time we drove into downtown.

He was raised on South Street and later Larwill Street and loved to reminisce about tromping around downtown Wooster as a boy. He also worked at Smith Grocery Store (now Matsos Family Restaurant) helping stock and deliver groceries to local families.

A few years out of high school Rich was set up on a blind date at the Wooster Country Club where he met the love of his life, Linda Ault. A year later they were married. They have three children, Greg, Shelly, and Deanne. Rich and Linda were married 63 years and have 11 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. They were devoted to one another and showed us how to be a loving couple.

Before meeting Linda, during his adolescent years, he began to show an interest in music. He sang tenor in the high school choir and often recalled singing Handle’s Messiah. He also started to play guitar and steel guitar with musicians at McIntire Furniture Store. After becoming interested in jazz, he began to study the vibraphone emulating his early idols, Lionel Hampton and Red Norvo. From that point on Rich was known as a “vibes man” and he continued to play for the rest of his life.

He became a member of the Roger Lehman Quartet who modeled themselves after the George Shearing group. The RLQ became quite popular in the area and for years their “Reunion Concerts” would attract big crowds at venues like El Rancho Grande.

Rich later formed Variations, who for decades played countless weddings, parties, and New Year’s Eve gigs.

His last group was called Good Vibes who became well known for their 17-year, Tuesday night, summer gigs on the patio at TJs.

In addition to his family and music, Rich’s other love in his life was running. At the age of 40, not being happy with his “dad bod” he decided to take up running. Daily runs became a regular part of his routine, and he began to enter races. He eventually ran three marathons and countless 5k, 10k, 25k and more. He continued to run for over four decades and won several age group trophies over the years.

He graduated from Wooster High School in 1955 and continued his studies at Wooster Business College earning a degree in accounting. He worked for a short time at The Wooster Daily Record and then McIntire Furniture Store. He worked for 25 years at International Paper Company where he became Director of Personnel and ended his professional career at Rayco Manufacturing.

To family Rich was known as the music man and his legacy lives on in the many family members who perform. He was perhaps happiest when one of the grandkids became good enough to sit in with the band.

His three children will remember him as our hero and our rock. You were a teacher, an artist, a book lover, a poet, and a comedian. You showed us how to fish, fly a kite, hunt mushrooms, ride a bike, jump into leaves, how to play and what to read. We will never forget the love you showed us and mom, how the two of you held hands when you walked together, or the gleam in your eyes when grandkids began to appear.

In his last few days he was surrounded by family, singing songs, telling stories, laughing, crying, and offering comfort as we could. You kept your sense of humor till the end and the family gathered around you highlights one of your favorite sayings, “We Balls hang together!”

The family would like to thank the staff at Wayne Manor, where Richard and Linda have lived the past 2 years, and the Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, where Rich spent his last days. Thank you so much for all the love, care and support you have shown our family.

Richard is survived by his loving wife Linda, his sister Bonnie Ball-Marti, his adoring children, Greg (Betsy Goldsberry Ball), Shelly (Dan Head), and Deanne (Rich Gentry), 11 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren. We miss you and love you madly.

McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster is assisting the family.

A small private celebration of life will be held in the coming weeks.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorials be made to Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare,

Online condolences may be left for the family at


  1. Our prayers & condolences to the family as we are saddened by his passing. Little did we know how much our lives would change when we moved next door. The street parties, Halloween parties, listening to Rich’s band & getting to know the family and playing cards what a wonderful time it was. He will be missed but not forgotten

  2. We are so saddened to hear of Rich’s passing. We worked with Rich many times at wedding receptions when he played in RLQ, variations, and good vibes. He was always so fun to be around. He will be missed. Deepest sympathy to all of your family. My wife and I ran Morrison’s Studio in Wooster from 1969-2005.

  3. Condolences to the Family of Mr. Ball seeing the sad news. Having spent time at TJ’s on Tuesdays during the summer listening to Rich on his Vibraphone along with Good Vibes excellent music while it was “5 o’clock some where” listening to Jimmy Buffett’s rendition’s. Will be hard to replace that sound coming from his Vibes and his kindness during the evenings. Sincere From Florida

  4. A million thanks Rich for helping start me down my musical path. You are one classy guy!

  5. We were very saddened to read of Rich’s passing .he and Linda were great people and always
    Gave you the time of day when we ran into them…Terry enjoyed working with Rich. A fine man,
    May you RIP, Rich, you’ll be missed….


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