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Donna “Chris” Butler Ball, Trustee Emerita, Dies at 76 Ball served on the board from 2001-2006.

Chris-Ball-1-600x400 Donna “Chris” Butler Ball, Trustee Emerita, Dies at 76

Donna “Chris” Butler Ball P’96, P’00, P’01, trustee emerita of Washington and Lee University, died April 7, 2024, in Jacksonville, Florida. She was 76.

Ball was born on Feb. 4, 1948, in Columbus, Georgia, to Clarence and Weezie Butler. She graduated from The Westminster Schools in Atlanta in 1965 and Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia in 1969. While at Hollins, she met her future husband, Willis Manville “Billy” Ball III ’69, an All-American swimmer and Hall of Fame inductee at W&L. The couple married on Feb. 14, 1970, in Columbus, and they ultimately settled in Jacksonville in 1971.

Both Ball and her husband treasured W&L and served the university in various capacities when their first child, Philip “Butler” Ball ’96, attended, followed soon thereafter by their son Christopher McNeil Ball ’00 and daughter Sarah “Sallie” Gilbert Ball ’01. Ball served on the Parents Leadership Council from 1996-2001 and on the W&L Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2006.

Ball valued education, and in addition to her service at W&L, she was the first female chair of the Bolles School board and board member of the University of North Florida Foundation. Ball returned to school in her midlife to pursue a master’s degree in comparative religious studies at the University of North Florida. Years later, she completed a master gardener program where she underwent intensive horticultural training and, upon completion, volunteered to share her knowledge with her community.

She also advocated for children, healthcare and the arts, serving on boards such as the Junior League of Jacksonville, the American Cancer Society, the Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, the Jacksonville Zoo, the Bradley-Turner Foundation and the Baptist Health Foundation.

Ball is survived by her husband, Billy; sons, Bulter (Hilton) and Christopher (Lyssa); daughter, Sallie; six grandchildren; sister, Elizabeth Butler “Betsy” Ramsay (Al), and brother, Stephen Turner Butler (Kent).

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on April 22, at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 1100 Stockton Street, Jacksonville, Florida. A reception at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Bower Lyman Center for Medically Complex Children at Baptist Hospital, of which she was the founding benefactor.