Civilla (Frederick) Ball, was born 90 years ago in 1927 in a house in Yukon. For her, Yukon has always represented home and family. She grew up here, as did her parents and grandparents… dating all the way back to the Oklahoma Land Run.
Having grown up in the ’20s and ’30s, it is no surprise that her family was hit hard by the Great Depression. Her father often said that while the Depression was officially labeled to be in 1929-1939, it actually was in effect much longer for the farmers.
She has many early memories of the amount of polka in the culture, due to Yukon being a Czech community. Czech Hall was a mere three miles away from her home, so it was not uncommon to see the Czech citizens having festivals and dances there.
Ball remembers the very rare occasions when her family would leave Yukon to go take the long trip to El Reno. Ball remembers seeing the “Welcome to Yukon” sign while returning, with black and white letters saying “population 900” underneath. Several years later, at the beginning of World War II, she saw the sign again which said “population 1200”. By the time the war ended, there was no longer a population sign, but she guesses it must have grown exponentially in those years.
After finishing high school and her nursing training, she set out to help people in the war effort as much as she could. She was placed in cadet nursing during WWII. Later for the Korean War she was commissioned in the Red Cross as the Chief Nurse in what they called “The BloodMobile”. This was a group of Ball and about six other nurses who would travel around the country and accept people’s blood donations to be sent overseas to those in need. On one of these trips, the BloodMobile came into Yukon to accept donations. She was glad to see that her hometown had one of the best responses, and donated much more blood than the average town. She found it hilarious though when huge burly farmers would come in for their donation and pass out before they even got to the donation chairs. As one of these large, strong farmer men came in one day, she recognized his red hair and knew she had seen him around town while growing up. She remembered that redheaded farmer, who later became her husband.They had six children together, as well as many grandchildren, and great grandchildren; most of which still live in Yukon today.
Since the war, Ball has traveled to many points on the globe helping people wherever she could. She started “Shoes for Russia,” a shoe donation organization for Russian families, after the Berlin wall fell. She gave homes and jobs to any immigrant or impoverished person who came to her doorstep. She dug dozens of wells for impoverished villages in India providing life-saving clean water, as well as funding an orphanage in India. This is where children were able to have full meals for the first time in their lives. There were even parents who heard of the orphanage and would leave their children there so they could have food and a bed. She still regularly visits and communicates with her friends in India, providing assistance anytime they need it. Ball has gained family and friends all over the world who respect her for her giving spirit and love of others.