The late Don Ball, a physician at Mainline Health Systems dedicated to delivering good medical services to rural areas, decided in the sixth grade he wanted to be a doctor. He never questioned that decision, but his profession did not define him.

“I am Don Ball. I am not Dr. Ball. My job is being a doctor, it is not my life. It is not my identity,” he would often say.

“I knew all I needed to know about Dr. Ball in the first five minutes, to know I would always want him on our team,” said Mainline CEO Allan Nichols. “When I addressed him as Dr. Ball, he said ‘Call me Don. My momma named me Don, not doctor.’ He was a great doctor, but he was so much more and he was aware of where everything fit into God’s plan.”

Ball, who died on September 29 at the age of 59, was a renaissance man with a broad range of interests, from music to sports and politics to zoology. He enjoyed playing the piano, trumpet and golf, and enjoyed building projects and martial arts. He was devoted to his family.

Ball was a graduate of UAMS. He opened a practice in Marianna and had been with Mainline since 2011.

“Dr. Ball was family to us,” Nichols said. “We loved him and he loved us as family should. Our patients loved him as well. We were blessed to know him and have him as a part of our lives.”

Ball is survived by his wife, Teresa Perry Ball; three sons, Don W. Ball Jr. and wife Nataley of Marianna, Perry Ball and wife Chelsea of Marianna and Kolby Ball of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; his parents, John William Ball and Faye Trammell Ball; six grandchildren, Tatum, Don III, Evan Pate, Shelby, Dakota and Maddox, one sister, Cathy Flatt and husband David of North Little Rock; a brother, John Ball, Jr. of Adona, Arkansas, as well as a number of nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.