W. B. Jack Ball, Past Grand Master

see also Jack Ball Lecture section

Past Master, Brahan Lodge No. 226
Charter Member and Past Master (1974-1975), Texas Lodge of Research
Fellow in Masonic Research March 19, 1977

Reprinted from Transactions Texas Lodge of Research Ancient Free and Accepted Masons Volume VII at pgs 67-82, 1973

This is the story of a man. He was born; he is living; someday he must die. It is the story of a man who has enjoyed happiness and suffered tragedy, who, has succeeded and who has failed, and who has made both friends and enemies. it is the story of a man who has pondered upon the truth of life and the fact of death. This could, of course, be the history of any man, but in this instance it is the story of R*W* W. B. Jack Ball, Past Grand Master of Masons in Texas. It is the story of the mark he is leaving on the stones of time, written as well as I can manage in the manner in which it might be reconstructed a hundred years from now.

It is a common observation that once one has ascertained a man's belief on one subject, one is able to predict a whole range of views and reactions. A person's identity is his background, education, politics, insight, values, emotions, and philosophy. But it is more than any one of these or even the sum of them. To have only one value is, in human terms, false. The whole is the sum of the parts, and the truth is in the whole and in each of its parts. All of them are required to give the complete story of a man.

In no department of historical knowledge are differences in interpretation more striking than in the biographical. It is not difficult to understand why such differences should be clearly etched in the case of individuals involved in the activities of their time, but it is a most difficult task when the individual is still alive. Nevertheless, in a short time the remembrance of man grows fainter until at last there is no living human who remembers him as be was when he was alive. Thus, when a man's life is engraved in the hearts of others, his works should be recorded in his own lifetime. Otherwise, some aspect of' his uniqueness may be left latent and unrevealed.

In numerous conversations since June 24, 1952, W. B. Jack Ball has impressed his philosophy upon the writer; but it man may be mistaken in what he thinks he believes. There is but one way of learning the truth; he must be put to the ordeal of action and that ordeal of action must be interpreted by someone else. I am happy the Texas Lodge of Research selected me to be that "someone else."

Born September 21, 1896, the son of Thomas Ephraim Ball and Mary Philpot Ball, one of Jack Ball's earliest memories is the story of how his father in Kentucky at the age of eight, during the Civil War, with a musket in his hands took a stand in the barn loft and drove away a party of marauders bent on stealing the last of the family horses. This story, which Jack Ball must have heard many times, may have helped form his character; for it is recorded that Jack Ball never backed away from a fight, never retreated in the face of failure, and never capitulated even when the odds were greatest against him.

As he grew up, he learned the value of work, helping his father in the hardwood timber business in Farmersville, Texas, grading and selling hickory, ash, pecan, bois d'arc, and other hardwoods for the manufacture of handles for various types of tools, of railroad ties, fence posts, and some furniture. Long before he was grown, W. B. Jack Ball was an expert in grading timber and logs, and for a time inspected the quality of lumber used in railroad ties for both the Missouri Pacific and Frisco railroads.

Working in his father's business made it difficult for Jack Ball to participate in high school athletics; but he claims that he was a good second baseman for the high school team and the world's worst hitter. It is known, however, that once he won a tie game for Farmersville High School by doling out a home run in the last half of the ninth inning. Later, at Texas University he earned a place on the football squad but never played on the varsity; but he did play on a reserve team that went undefeated for a season.

Jack Ball's admission to college was delayed by circumstances beyond his control. At about the time he was graduated as salutatorian from the Farmersville High School, his father broke his back in an accident, and Jack Ball instead of going on to college stayed at home for a year and ran the family business. In fact, for a time it appeared as if he might never have the opportunity to further his education. Nevertheless, a year later the chance came, and the young man took the entrance examination in two courses, passed them, and was admitted to the University of Texas.

His education, however, was interrupted another time by World War I, during which he served as a non-commissioned officer instructing recruits at Paris Island in South Carolina. While in military service and, although he never knew him, inspired by the respect held for Past Grand Master Sam Hamilton, Jack Ball petitioned Farmersville Lodge No. 214 for the Mysteries of Masonry, and was initiated November 27, 1918, Passed July 19, 1919, and was Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason August 9, 1919. All of the degrees were conferred by courtesy. Years later, in 1955, when Past Grand Master James McClendon presented Brother Ball with the Past Grand Master's Apron he recalled that he had watched Ball's rise in Masonry from the time he was made a Mason in an Austin Lodge. Jack Ball not only became a Mason, but shortly after being raised was invited to join the Acacia social fraternity with which he was active throughout the rest of his university career. While at Texas University, he earned the Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1919 and the Bachelor of Law Degree in 1921. One part of his university life of which Ball is inordinately proud is that while in law school he served as "quiz master," and accordingly absorbed a deeper knowledge of law than he might otherwise have done.

Having completed his legal studies at the university, the young attorney moved at once to San Antonio and undertook the practice of law with the firm of Taliaferro, Cunningham, and Moursund. He remained with that firm for four years, then, feeling himself ready, he embarked upon the independent practice of law. In 1935, he formed a law partnership with the firm of Moursund, Ball, Moursund, and Bergstrom.

In 1921, as soon as he felt he could, W. B. Jack Ball married Alice Munson of Brazoria County. The couple had one son, T. Armour Ball, now a prominent jurist in San Antonio and a member of Albert Pike Lodge No. 1169. Mrs. Ball passed away February 28, 1945. She, too, shared in the shaping of Jack Ball's philosophy, for it is said that a happy marriage is the greatest builder of character.

At this point, a writer might devote a large amount of space to Ball's civic and social accomplishments in and for the City of San Antonio and the State of Texas, but since this paper is dedicated chiefly to a study of his Masonic career they will be mentioned only briefly. Within his profession he is a member of the San Antonio Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, and the American Bar Association and has served on many of their committees. Additionally, he is an active member of the Presbyterian Church, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the San Antonio Country Club, and has served as President and Director of the San Antonio Council of Presidents.

Although he never sought a public office, Jack Ball has always been actively interested in politics, and, consequently, he served as campaign manager for Dan Moody when he ran for District Attorney and for judge John Edward Hickman when he campaigned for the State Supreme Court. He was a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee of Texas during 1941-1942. Judge James Norvell of the Texas Supreme Court and former Grand Orator was his close friend and associate until the judge passed away in October 1969.

In 1921, after he moved to San Antonio, Brother Ball affiliated as a Charter Member of Albert Pike Lodge No. 1169 and demitted from Farmersville Lodge in 1922. He served Albert Pike Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1929. He also became a member of the York Rite Bodies, the Scottish Rite, and Alzafar Shrine Temple of San Antonio. He was coroneted 33rd Degree Inspector General Honorary by the Supreme Council in 1945. He served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Scottish Rite Bodies of San Antonio for several years. CurrentIy, he is Sovereign Grand Inspector General for the Valley of San Antonio. He was Potentate of Alzafar Shrine Temple in 1957 and has assisted in managing its affairs for a number of years. He is also a member of the Red Cross of Constantine and of the Royal Order of Scotland. He was one of the 113 Master Masons who signed the petition for the formation of the Texas Lodge of Research and is a Charter Member. In every facet of Masonry he has made his presence felt.

Although Brother Ball has been concerned with every part of Masonry, it is in Craft Masonry, and more especially at the Grand Lodge level in Masonic law that his influence is fixed deeply and firmly on the memory of Texas Masons. Grand Master Albert De Lange named him District Deputy Grand Master for District No. 39 in December 1949, and the appointment set Jack Ball on the road toward the Grand East. He was elected Grand Senior Warden in December 1951 when a vacancy occurred in the Grand Line at that level; but his Masonic philosophy and notions of leadership had crystallized long before his election to a Grand Lodge office. He would provide the power and authority to put them into effect during his year as Grand Master.

Before the record of a man's tenure in the high office of Grand Master is studied, some summary should be made of his philosophy and attitude toward the fraternity and the brethren who comprise it. To W. B. Jack Ball, Masonry is a dream supported by reality. It is an undertaking to fill the empty tissues of existence with the practical wisdom for which the human consciousness was created. Out of the experiences of a thousand lifetimes, Masonry distilled fundamental truths to forward the course of mankind. Masons are the vessels to carry with courage and gallantry those underlying principles and indispensable truths of the Order. Masonic ideas are more powerful than sectionalized institutions, and they are stronger than denominational concepts. Power and strength implies the unity of understanding, compassion, and brotherhood. The tenet of the Universality of Freemasonry emerges from these general notions.

Many men have caught the vision of the Universality of Freemasonry, but only a few have recognized its distinctive nature. Even fewer have attempted to turn it to man's advantage. In our time and among those who have, two men especially have recognized its truth; and Robert Heinlein and W. B. Jack Ball have pressed the idea hard during the 1950's and 1960's. It is perhaps unfair to compare two men with such dissimilar achievements. Yet, each has had his effect on the community of men, and the comparison is, therefore, useful in helping to understand the Universality of Masonry and the invisible power it exercises on the future of humanity. Both men grasped the concept and its potential, but they express it in different ways.

Heinlein is a former naval officer and is now the nation's foremost writer of science fiction. His Stranger in a Strange Land is said to have influenced our nation's youth more than any novel of the last twenty years. His poem, "The Green Hills of Earth," was quoted by the astronauts as they lifted off the moon on their last journey into space. In narrative after narrative he has used the Universality of Masonry as the flesh in which to cloak his plots. Heinlein conceives of Masonry as a great unifying force to restore harmony, order, and peace in a world torn asunder by man's weaknesses and the individual's lust for power. Masonry, he believes, will perform this role after civilization has been destroyed by the ravages of force. "Basic truths," be writes, "cannot change and once a man of insight expresses one of them it is never necessary, no matter how much the world changes, to reformulate them."

W. B. Jack Ball's concept, on the other hand, is that Masonry will stave off the debacle caused by man's weaknesses and the individual's struggle for power. Today, we are all aware that the years are beginning to weigh heavily on our society. No one sees this more clearly than our enemy who will bide his time, gathering more and more authority into his hands. It is too much to assume that twenty years ago Ball saw clearly that our people were entering a period when all that we value would be threatened, a time when our fraternity must perish or lead. Could his subconscious have perceived two decades ago what many now recognize and fear? Ball himself probably does not know the answer, but time after time he stressed that Masonry did not make the man, but that the character of man made Masonry and the imagery of each person for Masonry is what Masonry is. The power of Masonry shows through that imagery.

"Time," he said in 1954, "does not change the fundamental principles and great truths taught ... by our beloved fraternity . . . the very foundation of our American form of government is ... a direct exemplification of those fundamental principles and great truths originating in, and taught in, Masonry centuries before our government came into existence."

A few months earlier, in The Texas Grand Lodge Magazine, he wrote: "Masonry is the greatest force, the only practical hope, for world peace, so devoutly desired by all free men; it cuts across nationalities, across boundary lines of states and nations, across denominationalism of free men of all civilized nations, of all who believe in freedom of thought and religious beliefs and of all who believe in the dignity and right of self-determination of each individual."

Both Robert Heinlein and W. B. Jack Ball hold to the underlying theme that all men are children of God and therefore brothers. Both believe that Masonry stands pat on the primary truths of God and man. They are the only stable things we know, and who can say that we Masons of this generation may not be the ones to assure the survival of our fraternity and the continuance of our government and our culture? Masonry must never fail to inspire and lift up the hearts of men. Even though others have been aware of the principle, time may disclose that the promulgation of the Universality of Freemasonry was Grand Master Ball's most magnificent contribution to Texas Masonry and through it to the world.

But has there ever been a time in the long history of our fraternity when we have not lived in the near presence of danger? The staunch Grand Master recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of Freemasonry and the hazards it constantly faces. Grand Master Ball realized that no matter how dedicated one person may be, that in order to obtain a full measure of Masonic leadership the united effort of every Master Mason is required if Masonry of the future is to grow out of Masonry of the present, as Masonry of the present has grown out of that of the past. He knew that only reliable leaders could point up sharply the elements of strength in Masonry.

To the selection of leaders to assist him, he gave his earnest consideration, seeking advice from many sources. The statistics of his appointments to Grand Lodge responsibilities reveal his prudent judgment in their selection.

He appointed nine to long term Grand Lodge committees, 161 to one year committees, and 121 District Deputy Grand Masters. Of his committee appointments, seventeen were Past Grand Masters, four of whom were on two committees. John Bean, one of his committee members, served also as District Deputy Grand Master. Four of his committee appointees have since become Grand Masters: George Moffett, Robert Dillard, John Bean, and Joe Steed. Three of his District Deputy Grand Masters became Grand Masters: John Bean, Horace Jackson, and Jim Weatherby. Nothing could better demonstrate the quality of his committees and District Deputy Grand Masters or his concern about the leadership of Masonry in Texas.

Upon being elevated to the Grand Mastership, Jack Ball turned at once to the administration of Grand Lodge affairs, secure in the knowledge that he had able assistance to cope with the many problems that would arise. Not the least of the problems facing him was that of the multitudinous pressures on District Deputy Grand Masters in the metropolitan centers. Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio especially needed relief. For several years the Grand Lodge had been cognizant of the problem and each Grand Master had attempted to solve it by one means or another. A committee had been appointed to study the problem and make recommendations with respect to it; but members of the committee were reluctant to create new districts because customs and traditions of long standing would therefore be destroyed. No Masonic laws or practices seemed to apply.

Jack Ball had not been on the redistricting committee in 1952 when it was set up, but after the then Grand Master named him to the committee in 1953, Ball, along with Brothers Albert De Lange, Horace K. Jackson, S. R. Wright, R. Bruce Brannon, Harvey Byrd, and Rogers Kelly, was to give the matter much thought.
A prior Grand Master had tried to eliminate the pressures by appointing Assistant District Deputy Grand Masters in the districts where the demands bore most heavily, but the practice was only partially successful. Jack Ball, when he was Grand Master, named Special Representatives of the Grand Master to relieve the District Deputies of much of the clerical work. This, too, was only a partial solution, but it opened the door to speculation. Ball turned to the laws and reached the conclusion that if Lodges could have concurrent jurisdiction so could districts. The objection to creating new districts and thus disturbing old traditions would thereby be eliminated. When Ball made the suggestion to a group of his leaders, John Crooker, Past Grand Master, turned to him and remarked that the solution had been under their eyes all the time; they just had not seen it. In 1955, after the recommendation had been accepted by the Grand Lodge, the jurisprudence Committee resolved that in view of the Jack Ball recommendation, approved by the Grand Lodge in 1954, no further action should be taken. Grand Master George Moffett concurred in a similar recommendation and it was so agreed to by the Grand Lodge.

In reaching his answer to the question, Jack Ball had considered precedent, which is the heartbeat of common law, and Grand Lodge law. Throughout his Masonic career and in his work as Grand Master and his fourteen years of service on the Grand Lodge jurisprudence Committee, Ball was strongly influenced by the development of English Common Law and its principles, many of which constitute major elements in Freemasonry.

In Britain, common law was the general law as accepted by the courts, not yet enacted into statutes, but in contact with local customs. Common law implies that, instead of heterogeneous local customs, there is a uniform law for all. In questions of law and legal procedure, the judge is governed by precedents established in similar cases. This practice in England has gone on continuously down through the centuries, making common law a living organism which gradually can be adapted to changing conditions.

It is obvious that Jack Ball studied carefully those characteristics of English Common Law which had found their way into Freemasonry. He knew that during the evolution of the English government that the king insisted on the maintenance of ancient demesne, which translated into Masonry meant that the Grand Master, and later the Grand Lodge, insisted on the maintenance of the ancient landmarks. This is clearly shown by Ball's search for and presentation of precedents in making his decisions, of which there were eighty-one during his year in the Grand East. The precedent or Grand Lodge law was researched painstakingly, and his reasoning behind each decision was explained clearly. The sagacity of this course is revealed in the actions of the Jurisprudence Committee, which recommended approval of all but three of his decisions. Jack Ball followed the same practice in his recommendations.

W. B. Jack Ball did not see Masonry as a body in which organization predominates and in which an individual makes his way through a maze controlled by others. He knew that modern Grand Masters often found themselves prisoners of the organization devised by the old guild system and by common law, but he determined to remain free. The pomp and splendor and organization which surrounds the Grand Master was never a cage for Ball, but was only a frame through which he worked.

His study of common law and his familiarity with statutes enacted by representative bodies led Ball to formulate a philosophy with respect to a Grand Master's administration. Jack Ball believes that a Grand Master is not bound by actions of his predecessors; their decisions should serve chiefly as useful guides in reaching solutions to problems under Masonic law. He believes that the Grand Master is bound only by the actions of the Grand Lodge. The Grand Master can seek change, if he wishes, but he should do so through prescribed channels. He makes suggestions and recommendations through the jurisprudence or other proper committee. The committees evaluate them and make their own recommendations, upon which the Grand Lodge passes. Good taste requires that the Grand Master's recommendations should be defended by those who hold to the same judgments as does he. If one of his recommendations is lost on the floor, then he and his successors are bound by the action of the Grand Lodge until the Grand Lodge changes that action.

As he labored at the Grand Lodge level of Masonic administration, Jack Ball was amazed by the astonishing ignorance of Masonic law manifested by Masons and the subordinate Lodges. The confusion about the laws both perplexed him and filled him with consternation. With consumate vigor he set out to clarify the law and to educate the brethren. Thus be helped set in motion the revision of the "Book of Masonic Law," which was completed successfully in 1964. He undertook his program in an orderly and logical fashion, dealing with the problems of law as they arose.

In addition to finding the answer to the redistricting question, he clarified the conditions under which a candidate might receive any degree after one year had elapsed. Relying upon the laws, he defined a "suspended" Lodge and a "demised" Lodge. He made clear that a protester did not waive his right to a protest even if he were present when the ballot was taken. He interpreted what was then Article 332 to mean that although ordinarily a Brother could not decline nomination to an office he had never filled, the Worshipful Master, being well acquainted with the situation, might permit the Brother to reject the nomination. He explained that a subordinate Lodge does not have the authority to present a Fifty Year Pin, that authority being vested in the Grand Lodge only. In a lengthy ruling, he outlined the purposes for which Lodge rooms and ante-rooms can be used for other than Masonic purposes. He ruled that with the exception of the Tiler no Brother can enter or leave the Lodge room while a ballot is in progress, and that once the results of a ballot are announced it is to be recorded in the minutes and can not be inquired into. He stipulated that automatic suspension for non-payment of dues does not break the continuous membership in good standing if the suspension is corrected by reinstatement within two years after the suspension. In no uncertain terms, he emphasized that only the Grand Master can grant a Dispensation for a Lodge Under Dispensation or determine the qualifications of its officers, and that only the Grand Lodge can name the first elective officers of each newly chartered Lodge. He specified that although a petition for the degrees cannot be withdrawn, a Petition for Reinstatement can be withdrawn at any time before the ballot is taken.

Additionally, he pointed out that the Grand Lodge is a private corporation, and under Texas law each subordinate Lodge is therefore a corporation with power to own and hold title to real estate. No further specific action is required, he ruled, to incorporate and the Grand Master can consent or not to the incorporation of any building corporation. Thus title to all real estate owned wholly or in part by a subordinate Lodge should be directly in the name of the Lodge and not in the name of trustees or otherwise. Furthermore, any funds belonging to the subordinate Lodge should be held in the name of that Lodge and not in the name of any individual or group.

A noteworthy decision, on a question that had been often raised by subordinate Lodges, was that the Grand Master does not have the authority to grant a dispensation to postpone to a later time the lecture, charge, and apron ceremonies when the Master's Degree is conferred.

To the Masons of the seventies, Ball's decisions and recommendations may seem to deal with inquiries, the answers to which are obvious. It should be remembered, however, that the rulings listed in this paper and in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge for 1954 dealt with problems constantly posed by the subordinate Lodges; that in his rulings he removed obsolete laws, clarified obscure wordings, and interpreted previous decisions of Grand Masters and laws established by the Grand Lodge.

Previous Grand Masters had struggled with the same or similar problems and some of them had been solved earlier. Jack Ball's contribution, through the years, was the interpretation and the clarification, which helped pave the way for a general revision of the laws of the Grand Lodge of Texas. Had it not been for Jack Ball's scholarly work in this particular legal area, the answers would not seem so obvious.

In 1952, Past Grand Master George R. M. Montgomery, listed the "Great Masonic Leaders of Yesterday in Texas" in these words:

W. S. Fly, the austere law-giver; George W. Tyler, who wrote Article I of our Constitution, in which is set forth the purposes of this Grand Lodge; Nat M. Washer, he of the silver tongue; Madden Fly, the philosopher; Sam P. Cochran and Jewel P. Lightfoot, both great ritualists; William James, John Arnold, and Dan McMillian, all great Masonic statesmen; Brilliant Andrew Randell, the father of the Home and School endowment plan; W. S. Cooke, the great constructive thinker.

Jack Ball's talent for translating the law in simple terms would seem to entitle him for inclusion among them as "the interpreter of Masonic law in Texas."

When Grand Master Gibb Gilchrist named Jack Ball to serve for the first time on the Jurisprudence Committee, succeeding Past Grand Master Pat Neff, he could scarcely have made a better choice; for Ball's shrewd, analytical mind, his thorough grounding in British Common Law and in Masonic law and philosophy, fitted him especially well to serve in that capacity. It is the area for which he will be best remembered in Texas Masonry.

It is not intended to portray Jack Ball's administration as being perfect or to pretend that other Grand Masters have not had their successes. Each Grand Master, in turn, has possessed a vital gift for the use of the Order. When Past Grand Master Ball was asked how he expected to be remembered by Texas Masons, be brushed off the question with the laconic remark: "As the daddy of the Masonic Home and School dishwashing machine," the purchase of which he had arranged.

Like every Grand Master, he had his failures. Among them was his attempt to attract visitors to the new Grand Lodge Temple during the hot month of August. Another was his try to get news items from subordinate Lodges for The Texas Grand Lodge Magazine. A third, among several others, was his failure, in spite of strong efforts, to establish permanently a "Big Brother" system by means of which newly made Masons could be instructed, inspired, and encouraged to attend their Blue Lodges.

A purpose of this paper, however, is to show the physical stamina, judgment, and prudence required of a successful Grand Master; for, in addition to decisions and legal interpretations, there are a host of other functions to which he must attend.

During his year in the Grand East, Grand Master Ball granted seven dispensations to the Order of the Eastern Star, the Rainbow Girls, and to the DeMolay to hold particular meetings of their organizations. Permission was granted to fifteen Lodges to hold open meetings for various purposes such as the observation of George Washington's birthday, to honor wives and mothers, and to present Fifty Year Pins. Five new Lodges were constituted; others were set to work Under Dispensation. Nine subordinate Lodges observed their centennials, and Ball attended the celebrations for Bethesda, Brazos Union, Castillian, and Mount Horeb. Three lodge buildings were dedicated, and cornerstones for three lodge buildings, three school buildings, and one Jewish synagogue were leveled. Sixteen Lodges were granted permission to move their meeting places, and seven were allowed to meet for a time in some place other than their normal meeting places. It is worthwhile to note that three of these Lodges had suffered severe damage from fire. Twenty-nine dispensations were granted to Lodges to hold tiled meetings at places other than those at which they regularly met. He gave Waivers of Jurisdiction to four other Grand jurisdictions in the United States and two to two Grand Lodges of Mexico. He had twenty-six requests to ballot or confer degrees out of time and he permitted twenty-one and denied five. He permitted thirty-five Lodges to hold public installation of Officers and allowed three districts to hold joint public installations. Jack Ball believes that open public and especially open joint installations should be encouraged as good public relations; and, to prove his point, in 1955 while be was the junior Past Grand Master, he supervised the arrangements for what Grand Master Moffet described as "probably the largest installation ceremony ever held in America." Thirty Lodges participated, and some of the officers to be installed journeyed more than one hundred miles for the occasion. These routine matters, alone, were enough to keep any Grand Master busy.

Some Past Grand Masters, however, wanted to travel, especially the Reverend R. Bruce Brannon who had arranged to spend a year in Scotland. Brother Brannon, desirous of sitting in as many Scottish Lodges as possible, requested pocket sized credentials for easy identification. Such a request was apparently new in the history of the Grand Lodge, but the decision could be reasonably and easily made by the Grand Master since there was no reason not to do so. Grand Master Ball had proper cards printed and distributed to each Past Grand Master stating that the Brother named on the card had served Texas as Grand Master, gave the year, and had it properly certified by the Grand Secretary.

The Grand Lodge collars, jewels, and aprons were in a worn condition. The Grand Lodge Finance Committee was asked to buy new ones, which it did. The old sets were to be retained in the custody of the Grand Secretary to be given to the current Grand Lodge officers for use in each respective year.

Judging from the Proceedings of 1954, Grand Master Ball made only three trips out of Texas for Masonic purposes that year. Two were to Grand Lodge Communications, in New Mexico and Arkansas. He found them enjoyable because of the fine fellowship and interesting business sessions.

The third was to the Grand Masters' Conference in Washington, D. C. The conference was well attended and Texas was strongly represented. Jack Ball found it helpful because it provided for an exchange of views and an opportunity to develop and maintain the universal bonds of Masonic Brotherhood But be was also critical and cautioned against any efforts that might appear at the Grand Masters' Conference to establish a General Grand Lodge. He also felt that there was too much participation in the Grand Masters' Conference by Past Grand Masters and not enough by current officers. He suggested that this could be corrected in Texas by the Grand Lodge sending the Grand Senior Warden as well as the Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, and the Grand Secretary. Moreover, he held, adding the Grand Senior Warden would provide for a greater continuity of officers. This was one of his failures, however; but a few years later, his recommendation was accepted by the Grand Lodge, and now the Grand Senior Warden attends routinely.

Another of the Grand Master's duties is an ex-officio membership on the Board of Directors for the Masonic Horne and School. Ball served a total of ten years on that Board, and it was during that period that he earned his sobriquet "daddy of the Masonic Horne and School Dishwasher."

Past Grand Master W. B. Jack Ball is now in his seventyfifth year. He told the writer in a recent conversation that there is no way to whip time; it passes, do what one may to stop it. In youth one believes he can take life and shape it to his way if only he works and tries hard. Soon enough he learns that life shapes the man and not the other way around. But it is only the young who fear death and disappointment, perhaps because they expect more than God Almighty will ever give. In time, a man takes losses as they come; anyway a man fullgrown and mature with graying hair does, remembering days that were good and secure with his memories locked in. He reflects on what is to come, but finally the sun sets and the shadows come mercifully to end in the twilight and in the onset of peace. "The whole story," says Jack Ball, "of life and of death and of life after death is to be found in the Great Light of Masonry which rests on our Holy Altar."


Reprinted from the Proceedings of the 119th Annual Communication
of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons


W. B. Jack Ball, Grand Master of Masons in Texas, in the year of 1954, was born in Farmersville, Collin County, Texas, on the twenty-first day of September, 1896, the son of T. E. Ball and Mary Philpot Ball.

Brother Ball attended public schools in Farmersville, Texas, and was Class Salutatorian in the graduating class of 1914. He attended the University of Texas and the Law School of the University of Texas, receiving a B. A. Degree in August of 1919 and an L. L. B. Degree in June 1921. For the B. A. Degree he majored in History (particularly Latin-American) and minored in Government. He did outstanding work while in University, serving as Student Assistant in government and Quiz Master (Student Assistant) in Law School at the University of Texas. His scholarship and popularity was further acknowledged by his being admitted to the following: Acacia Fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Delta Phi, Phi Sigma Alpha and Chancellors.

During World War I Brother Ball withdrew from the University and voluntarily enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After completion of recruit training he was assigned to the N. C. O. School at Paris Island, South Carolina. After completing N. C. O. School he was promoted to Non-Com and assigned back to the Marine N. C. O. School, Paris Island, South Carolina as an instructo. He was honorably discharged in December, 1918. Again, during World War II, Brother Ball served his country in a civilian status as a member of the Staff of the Chief Air Raid Warden of Bexar County and San Antonio Metropolitan area.

Upon graduation from Law School, University of Texas, Brother Ball entered law practice in June of 1921 in San Antonio, Texas, with the law firm of Taliaferro, Cunningham and Moursund. On January 1, 1925, he entered independent practice and continued in this capacity until November of 1935 when he formed partnership with the firm of Moursund, Ball, Moursund and Bergstrom. For years he has been a member of the San Antonio Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association. He is a Past President and Past Director of the San Antonio Bar Association. He served on various committees of the State Bar Association of Texas, having been State Chairman of two committees. At one time was member of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association,

Brother Ball has always shown a keen interest in church and civic affairs. He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, Texas; of the San Antonio Country Club; of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce; of the San Antonio Conopus Club; and formerly of the San Antonio Council of Presidents, having served as President and as Director of this Council and active in various other civic organizations of the city. He was a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee of Texas during 1941-1942.

Brother Ball married Alice Munson of Brazoria County, Texas, in 1921, and to this union was born one son, T. Armour Ball, who is a member of Albert Pike Lodge No. 1169, San Antonio, Texas. Mrs. Ball passed way February 28, 1945.

Brother Ball was initiated in Farmersville Lodge No. 214, of Farmersville, Texas, on November 27, 1918, passed July 19, 1919, and raised August 9, 1919, the degrees having been conferred by courtesy by other Lodges. He affiliated as a Charter Member of Albert Pike Lodge No. 1169 in 1921 and served as Worshipful Master in 1928-1929.

In the Grand Lodge of Texas he served on the Committee on Masonic jurisprudence, as District Deputy Grand Master of the 39th Masonic District, as Grand Senior Warden in 1952, Deputy Grand Master in 1953 and at the 118th Annual Grand Communication was installed as M* W* Grand Master of Masons in Texas. He is now Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Kansas near the Grand Lodge of Texas.

Brother Ball is a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite Bodies and Alzafar Shrine Temple of San Antonio. He was coroneted 33° Inspector General Honorary by the Supreme Council in 1945 and is a member of the Red Cross of Constantine. He served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Scottish Rite Bodies of San Antonio for several years.

Upon installation as Grand Master he stated that it would be his purpose to dedicate himself to the task of "Carrying Masonry to Every Mason in Texas." Regarding this task one of the Committees of Grand Lodge had this to say:

"He has of a verity, applied himself to his announced objective, 'Carrying Masonry to every Mason in Texas'; from border to border, north, south, east and west, has this Apostle of Fraternity and Brotherly love developed his theme. With the zeal of a crusader, the wisdom of a philosopher, the fortitude of Atlas and the patience of Job, has he endeavored to 'make darkness light before us and crooked things straight'."

You, Brother Ball, have earned the love, esteem and admiration of the rank and file of the Craft and are enshrined in the hearts of over two hundred and twenty-three thousand Masons in the Grand Jurisdiction of Texas.

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