Flem enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 14 March 1945. He was aboard the USS Bairoko (CVE-115), a carrier escort, when she was commissioned on 16 July 1945 at Tacoma, Washington. Commissioned too late to take an active part in World War II, the ship engaged in peacetime fleet cruises, maneuvers, and exercises until December 1949. If Flem was onboard until 25 March 1946, when his Department of Veterans Affairs death file indicated he was discharged, he sailed nearly 20,000 miles during his Navy hitch. After the Bairoko was commissioned, she sailed to the Naval Air Station at Alameda. A few days later the ship moored at North Island Naval Station in San Diego where it took part in its first inspection by Fleet Operational Training Command Pacific, which took three weeks. On 18 October Bairoko steamed for Pearl Harbor. On 7 November she was ordered to Okinawa. Enroute, however, orders changed her destination to Saipan where she arrived on 19 November. Next was a stopover in the Philippines and then Bairoko spent eight days in Hong Kong. Next, was Manila and the sailors got to see the terrible destruction. Many said it was impossible to describe in words. After a brief stop in Guam, Bairoko arrived back in Pearl Harbor on 14 January 1946 and ten days later the ship had returned to San Diego.
|USS Bairoko (CVE-115); photograph courtesy of the United States Navy|
Flem married Dolly Lorine Shinall, daughter of Silas Clint Shinault and Virgie Merrel Nipper. Since Virginia marriage records from 1936 through 2014 are online, I do not believe they were married in Virginia, but I have found no record of when or where the marriage did take place. In fact, I have been unable to discover much about Dolly at all except the circumstances surrounding her death.
Dolly had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver in 1971 and died on 15 May 1973 at the Clinch Valley Clinic in Richlands. At the time of her death, she and Flem made their home in Cedar Bluff, Virginia. Dolly was 48 years old when she died. I do not know if the couple had children.
Flem married Bonnie (Muir) Hess on 29 December 1973; she was a divorcee with three children, who were in their late teens or early 20s.
By 1993 Flem and Bonnie lived in Emerald Isle, North Carolina.
Flem Evert Ball died on 13 April 2002 at Emerald Isle.
'USS Bangor CVE-115,' U.S. Navy
1930 US Federal Census, Census Place: Maiden Spring, Tazewell, Virginia; Roll: 2463; Page: 19A; Enumeration District: 0016; Image: 216.0; FHL microfilm: 2342197
1940 US Federal Census, Census Place: Maiden Spring, Tazewell, Virginia; Roll: T627_4298; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 93-23
Bangor Public Library, http://www.bangorpubliclibrary.org/
Naval Source, http://navalsource.org
US, Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, 2002 Ball, Flem
US, North Carolina Death Indexes, 1908-2004, 2002 Ball, Flem Evert
US, Navy, "Album USS Bairoko (1946). World War Regimental Series. Book 207.
US, Public Records Index, Volume 1, 1993 Emerald Isle, NC (Ball, Flem E)
US, Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Number: 228-14-2037; Issue State: Virginia; Issue Date: Before 1951
US, Virginia Birth Records, 1864-2014, 1922 Ball, Flem Evert
US, Virginia Death Records, 1912-2014, 1973 Ball, Dolly Loraine
US, Virginia Marriage Records, 1936-2014, 1973 Ball, Flem - Muir Hess, Bonnie Ann
US, World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949, CVE-115; 16 July 1945
US, World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949, CVE-115; 1 April 1946