Obituary: Gregory Ball, 87

Gregory Ball died on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. He was born in California to Edwin and Mary Ball on June 20, 1935.

He grew up in Walnut Grove, Stockton, and Santa Rosa. He loved camping, fishing with his dad, playing baseball, competitive tennis, and spending many summers in Alberta, Canada, where his grandparents had a farm.

He graduated from Santa Rosa High School with many lifelong friends and shared wonderful stories of their high school “high jinks.” He continued his studies at Santa Rosa Community College, where he won a tennis doubles league championship.

His love for tennis was lifelong, leaving many wondering how they just got beat by an old guy with a vintage Wilson wood racket and knee-high tube socks.

He then transferred to Stanford University to study history and psychology and became a devoted Stanford Indians fan, closely following basketball, tennis, and especially football. A longtime and highly enthusiastic football season ticket holder, he savored taunting opposing fans with pearls such as: “Your coach drinks his own bath water!” and was most pleased by the recent strength of the Stanford football program.

After graduating from Stanford in 1957, he served in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps for five years and was activated for the Cuban Missile Crisis.

He had an amazing, near-photographic memory, which served him well throughout his long and successful career as a title insurance officer, underwriter, and title company general manager in Sacramento and San Francisco. His sharp wit and mischievous sense of humor enabled him to form many friendships with his co-workers, who viewed him as a business leader and a true expert in his field.

Above all, he was a dedicated and patient father who was always present sharing time, stories, and his caring love. His gentle and loving spirit was felt by all, especially his daughters, whom he always loved and supported as they pursued their dreams in ballet, musicals, culinary arts, and plays.

He always set the example of a true gentleman by opening their car door and pulling out their chair in a restaurant. He was also a dedicated grandfather four times over and never missed his grandchildren’s plays, musicals, ballet performances, or football games.

He bragged about his family to anyone who would listen.

Young at heart, he made many friends even into his old age, as he loved making people laugh, sharing his wisdom and showed true compassion towards all. Everyone loved his antics such as calling himself “Refugio Bandersnatch” at the barista counter and teaching his young Ukrainian and Russian friends antiquated expressions such as the “the best thing since sliced bread” and “colder than a well digger’s shovel.”

He had a special fondness for Russian chocolates and was always well-supplied by his caring friends.

He will be greatly missed by his family and many friends, as he was a true original with a great mind, dry sense of humor, vast understanding of history, and fantastic knowledge of sports trivia. He was a man who could eat an entire cake in one night and not gain a pound, and someone who refused to own a pair of jeans on principle.

At the ripe age of 86, he was baptized and left his agnostic views behind. “Rest in peace, sweet Gregory,” say his loved ones.

He is survived by his daughters Julia Ball-Dugan and Lisa Ball; son-in-law John Dugan; dear friend Dale Apodaca; and grandchildren Elaine, Jacob, Jacqueline, and Joya. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Edwin “Bill” and Mary “Kay” Ball; and his brother, Robert Ball.

All are invited to Greg’s memorial service at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, at F.D. Sweet and Son Funeral Home in Willows. In lieu of flowers, Greg wished to honor his home caregivers of three-and-a-half years with memorial donations.

Update on Road 200 motorcycle crash

Responders look at the Honda motorcycle they had just moved out of the eastbound lane of County Road 200. Glenn County Observer photo by Larry Judkins.

Glenn County Observer

The Willows Area Office of the California Highway Patrol released the details regarding the vehicle versus motorcycle collision that occurred Tuesday afternoon on County Road 200.

According to the CHP, at about 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25, Jose L.C. Martinez, 16, of Orland, was driving a 2007 Nissan sedan west on County Road 200, just east of County Road 12.

The Nissan was at a complete stop on Road 200 and Martinez was attempting to conduct a left turn into the Twin Oaks Mobile Home Park.

Meanwhile, Chris J. Smith, 36, of Orland, was riding a 2015 Honda motorcycle east on Road 200, just east of Road 12, at a stated speed of 40 mph.

For an unknown reason, Martinez conducted a left turn directly in front of Smith, causing the front of the Honda to collide with the right side of the Nissan.

As a result of the collision, Smith was ejected from the Honda and came to rest in the eastbound lane of Road 200.

According to CHP Officer Barone, Smith suffered moderate injuries consisting of a suspected broken right leg. He was transported by Westside Ambulance to Enloe Medical Center in Chico for treatment.

Neither Martinez nor his passenger, Yohana Nunez, 13, of Orland, was injured. Both were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident.

Smith was wearing a helmet when the crash occurred.

Impairment was not a factor in this incident, and no one was arrested.

Obituary: Terri Jean (Strehle) Wilson, 72

Surrounded by family members, Terri Jean (Strehle) Wilson died peacefully on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022. She was born in Woodland to Elwin and Helen Strehle on Dec. 24, 1949.

She graduated from Willows High School in 1968. She worked at Glenn General Hospital as a PBX operator and she worked part-time at Peterson Tractor before her retirement.

She lived in many places before finally settling back in Willows. In 1988, she married the love of her life, Jeffrey Wilson.

She was a fun-loving, free-spirited person who loved music, dancing, and socializing with family and friends. She went by many nicknames, including Mamie (as she was lovingly known by her grandchildren and family friends) and Mama Sox (as she was known as by her son, Kevin, and daughter-in-law, Kelly).

Her hobbies included traveling and spending time with her family. She loved the song, “Me and Bobby McGee,” by Janis Joplin, so her family played it for her as they all gathered to say their goodbyes prior to her death.

She was a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother. She is survived by her children, Wendy Ward, Kevin (Kelly) Kampschmidt, Jacob (Amy) Wilson, and Jarrod (Loni) Wilson; grandchildren Delainy, Mollie, Jaycee and Karson Ward, Violet and Gwen Wilson, and Connor, Brooklyn, Willow and Knox Wilson; brother Jim Strehle; and fur baby dachshund, Maggie May.

She was preceded in death by her parents; son-in-law, Jim Ward; and sister-in-law, Judy (Rinehart) Strehle.

A celebration of life is planned from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, at the Willows Elks Lodge, 150 South Shasta Street. The family asks that you please share your favorite memory of Terri at the celebration of life.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to the Willows Elks Lodge Purple Pig Fund in Terri’s name.