KAYSVILLE -- Six days a week, Shirley Ball meets his buddies for breakfast at the Star Cafe in Clearfield, something he has been doing for years. This may not sound unusual, but Ball was born Nov. 13, 1913 and will be celebrating his 100th birthday today.
The friends have changed over the years, of course. There were 14 guys in his group when they began frequenting the Star Cafe. He is the only one left of that original group. But he has plenty of friends who are younger than he is.
Born on a farm, near the Kaysville Cemetery on Crestwood Road, Ball has lived in this city all of his life.
"He is still a home-teacher and he still mows his own lawn, but I finally talked him into getting a riding mower," said Ball's daughter Sherryl Ball Hart, who he is living with. As a home-teacher in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he has helped many families in his ward.
One couple he still visits regularly is Kai and Suzanne Nielsen.
"It was not long ago that he helped Kai in the garage with some electrical work," said Suzanne.
Because of Ball's knowledge of the city Suzanne loves to talk with him. He has stories to tell about his youth growing up in Kaysville and of the people, the toll bridge and farms.
"I could listen to him all day long," said Suzanne.
He recalls things back when he was a young child and tells of experiences he has through school.
"On my third or fourth birthday there were two or three feet of snow on the ground. I had a hernia and the doctor carried me to the Bamberger (a train) and we rode to Salt Lake City. He carried me to the St. Mark's Hospital but he fell in the ditch with me," Ball explained.
The snow had filled the ditch so the doctor couldn't see it.
Ball remembers when the highway from Salt Lake City through Kaysville was paved with cement. He watched as a team of horses moved the cement mixer.
Ball and his friend liked to "fool around" in high school. When he was a senior he and his friends had two study periods so he asked the teacher Miss Shepherd, if he and his friend could leave school early. Miss Shepherd asked them why? It was February and there were several feet of snow on the ground.
"I told her I was going to go home and pick cherries, but you know she let us go," he laughed.
Ball worked on his family farm where sugar beets, beans, grain and hay were grown. They also had an acre and a half of strawberries to take care of as well as a family garden. Today there is a crop of homes on the land.
"I hung around the garage in Kaysville and helped them. And I helped to get the Kaysville Co-op going in 1936," Ball said.
Even though he has been retired from the Hill Air Force Base Fire Department, where he served as an inspector for many years, his reputation is still known and admired. He began as a volunteer with the Kaysville Fire Department in 1935 and went to work at what was then Hill Field Fire Department in 1941. He was with the Kaysville Department for 26 years and with Hill for 31 years.
In 1938 he married his wife Doris and they purchased a two-room home and an acre of ground for $675. Because they needed more room he raised the house three feet so they could dig a basement.
"I used a telephone pole and a 30-foot long beam to go under the house. I raised it two inches at a time," Ball said. "I borrowed a horse from my wife's grandfather and using a large scraper we'd pull dirt from under the house."
After retiring he became an electrician. Some of his best memories come from the times he played his harmonica and guitar and sang.
Ball tells his stories with a smile on his face and laughs as he remembers so many good times.
"He is amazing," said Suzanne. "He's just happy. I have never seen him in a bad mood."
A celebration for his 100th birthday is from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16. The event will be held at the LDS Church 555 N 100 E (Fairfield Road).