Edmund F. (Ferdinand) Ball, the son of Edmund Burke Ball and Bertha Crosley Ball, was born in Muncie, Indiana on January 8, 1905. After attending the Muncie grade school, he attended Asheville School for Boys, Asheville, North Carolina from 1920 to 1923, and then Wabash College of Indiana from 1923 to 1925. His degrees include a Bachelor of Philosophy (Ph.B.) from Yale University in 1928, honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degrees from Ball State University, DePauw University and Indiana University as well as H.H.D. degrees from Keuka College and Wabash College.
From 1941 to 1945, Ball served with various Air and Ground Force installations, advancing to the rank of Major, and also served in the War Department, Washington, D.C. As a staff officer with the Fifth Army, he saw combat in the European-Mediterranean theater, and was awarded the Bronze Star. During part of his time in the Fifth Army, he aided General Mark W. Clark, and later published a book, Staff Officer, recalling his experiences.
Edmund F. Ball has had a distinguished career in business and in public broadcasting. In 1928, he began at the family-owned Ball Corporation, which later became Ball Brothers in 1969. After various manufacturing assignments, he became glass factories manager in 1936. He held that post until 1940 when he became the vice-president of glass operations. Meanwhile, in 1931, he served as assistant secretary. His other positions have been: director and executive vice-president in 1945, president from 1948 to 1956 and 1967 to 1970, chairman of the board from 1956 to 1969, and finally chairman of the executive committee from 1970 to about 1978. As the Ball Corporation was well-known for satellite and aerospace equipment design, Ball's primary interest was communication systems. Indeed, much of the Ball Corporation's research in satellite design has contributed to the making of television devices which have been helpful to educational broadcasting.
Edmund F. Ball's career in public broadcasting began with his membership in the National Council of the Humanities, after which he served as a board member of the Eastern Indiana Educational Television Board. From 1970 to 1973, he served as a public member of the Executive Board of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB). On July 27, 1973, Ball was designated lay representative to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) for WIPB-TV, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. That first year, his PBS duties consisted of serving as the third Vice-Chairman on the Board of Governors, and as a member of the Executive Committee, the CPB-PBS Partnership Review Committee, the Long-Range Finance Committee, and the Coordinating Committee. From 1974 to 1975, he was re-elected to the Partnership Review Committee. In 1976, Ball was elected to be a member of the Development and Public Information Committee. He served on both the Board of Directors and the Board of Governors until he left PBS in 1978.