In Memoriam: Mahlon M. Ball

Title: In Memoriam: Mahlon M. Ball

Publication: The Outcrop, December 2002, p. 11

Friends and colleagues of Mahlon M. Ball were saddened to hear of his death, at age 72, at home in Evergreen, Colorado on Friday, October 4, 2002. He was being cared for by the staff caretakers of Mount Evans Hospice in Evergreen for about two weeks prior to his death. Mahlon was born in Lawrence, Kansas on April 7, 1931 and was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 50 years, Marilyn, in September 2002.

Mahlon received a B.S. in Geological Engineering in 1953 and his M.S. in Geology in 1957, both from the University of Kansas. He earned an additional M.S. degree in Geophysics from the University of Birmingham, England in 1957, and a PhD in Geophysics from the University of Kansas in 1960.

Early in his career, in 1953, he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy’s famous Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) before joining Shell Oil Company in 1959. After leaving Shell in 1966 he was a professor of Marine Geology and Geophysics at the University of Miami, Florida for nine years before joining the Branch of Oil and Gas Resources of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1975 at Woods Hole, Mass. He transferred to Denver in 1988. Although retiring in 1995, he still maintained his deep interest in the activities of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI) over a period of 35 years, serving as Chairman of the Safety Panel of JOI at the time of his death.

Mahlon enjoyed a very busy, productive life and professional career, authoring more than 75 geological and geophysical publications dealing with marine and petroleum geology on a worldwide scale. He was well known by colleagues for his ever-present Kansas style sense of humor and his talent for directing and helping his graduate students at Miami, as well as fellow workers at the USGS.

Mahlon and Marilyn are survived by two sons, John and Jeff, and two grandchildren in Evergreen. Memorial gifts in their memories may be made to the mount Evans Hospice, P.O. Box 2770, Evergreen CO 80437.

Condolences may be sent to the Ball family home at 924 Yankee reek Road, Evergreen, CO 80439. Probable joint funeral services are planned for April 2003 in Lawrence, Kansas where Mahlon and Marilyn will be interred in the family cemetery. Plans for memorial services at present are indefinite.