Idyllwild resident Harold “Hal” E. Ball, 78, passed away Thursday, May 28, 2009, following a massive stroke.

Hal was raised in Lodi and graduated from College of the Pacific in nearby Stockton. There he met his wife of 52 years, Patsy Ann Estep. They moved to Southern California in the late 1950s and raised their three children in Del Mar.

Hal loved to tell stories and was a natural salesman. He worked for insurance companies, Standard and Poor’s, as well as mortgage companies. He finished his career by turning his hobby into a vocation, writing and broadcasting weekly reviews of ski resorts in the western United States. He and Patsy traveled extensively in their motor home dubbed “Ski Trails” and loved every minute on the road.

All who knew Hal soon realized his love of Mexico. For more than 40 years he enjoyed his Baja beach house in Rosarito Beach. What was first a travel-trailer on a Rosarito Beach cliff soon became a wooden foundation from which he built, with his own hands and imagination, his house on the beach. Next came family weekends with horses, motorcycles and endless sunsets from the deck, which were enjoyed by family and friends for many years.

After his retirement, Hal and Patsy left San Diego via sailboat and became “yachties” in Mexico for nearly 10 years. Sailing between La Paz, San Carlos and Puerto Vallarta, Hal reminded Norte Americanos that one hasn’t really lived until they have lit the barbecue, put on the scuba gear, dived beneath the sailboat, and returned with scallops to enjoy a fresh seafood lunch.

After their sailing days in Mexico, Hal and Patsy moved to their beloved Idyllwild. Hal became associated with the Idyllwild Lions Club and the American Legion Post 800.

Hal was very proud of his Idyllwild civic participation. He saw a need and secured permission and funding for the Idyllwild Dog Park and Idyllwild Skate Park, and proudly drove Miss Idyllwild in the annual Fourth of July Parade.

Services will be held at the residence of Maria and Steve Ball in Del Mar on July 18.

Hal was predeceased by his wife Patsy and is survived by his children, Kent Ball of Danville, Steve Ball of Del Mar and Sheryl Ann Ball of Carlsbad; as well as his sister Beverly Collins of Roseville.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to the American Legion Post 800, P.O. Box 800, Idyllwild, CA 92549.