Possessor of one of the brightest smiles in Lexington is Miss Martha Joe Ball, who despite a bout with crippling polio in 1945, has never let her wheel chair slow her down. Miss Ball is the daughter of the late Rev. Fleetwood Ball, who served as pastor of First Baptist Church here for more than 30 years.

Her mother, the former Miss Flossie Melton, died when Martha Joe was born. The three older girls and the baby were reared by their devoted maternal grandmother, Mrs. Vesta Melton, who moved into the Ball parsonage-home, living there until her death. Rev. Ball died May 1, 1945, and it is in his and Mrs. Ball's memory that the four Ball sis­ters gave the chimes which ring each Sunday from the Gothic tower atop First Baptist Church. The "Ball girls" are: Mrs. J. T. Holmes of McKenzie, the former Miss Mary Elizabeth Ball; Mrs. H. G. McGinley of Clinton, Tenn., the former Miss Lily McCay or "Bits" Ball; Miss Flossie Melton Ball, and the subject of our profile, Miss Martha Joe Ball.

A graduate of Union University of Jackson where she was a member of Chi Omega sorority and active in club work, Martha Joe received a civil service appointment to the Department of Agriculture in Washington, B.C. After working there for a year she came home upon the death of her father and began to work at First National Bank, a position she still holds. A victim of polio during the summer of 1945, Martha Joe entered Warm Springs Rehabilitation Center in December of that year, remaining for several months. Undaunted, she returned to First National, now in a wheelchair but still able to type and still blessed with that cheerful outlook on life. She has never let a wheel chair slow her down a great deal. Still a faithful attendant at her church where she sings in the choir, she is corresponding secretary of the B and P W Club which honored her in 1961 by selecting her as Woman of Achievement. She is also a member of the Book Lovers Club, and with her sister, Flossie Melton or "Bill" as she is called, she attends the Community Concert Series in Jackson, football games, picnics and other social events. Just recently she was in Princeton, N.J. for the graduation of her nephew Bob McGinley. Later the family group drove into New York City to see a stage play. To see Martha Joe drive her own car, and with small assistance from nor sister, be able to visit many places denied others of less courage, provokes the admiration of our town. Her courage, enthusiasm and contagious optimism are amaz­ing. Truly she has risen above her handicap and has found a beloved spot in the hearts of all who know her.

Jackson Sun June 29, 1966

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