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Mary Frances Ball Gorman, of Akron, Dies at Age 99

She served nearly 70 yrs. in the 109-year-old family Jewelry Business, Henry B. Ball Co, founded in 1915.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Mary Frances Ball Gorman, of Akron, died peacefully February 14, 2024 at the age of 99.

Mary Frances Ball Gorman, of Akron, Dies at Age 99

Mary Gorman
September 9, 1924 — February 14, 2024

Mary was born and raised in Lakewood, Ohio. She served nearly 70 yrs. in the 109-year-old family Jewelry Business, Henry B. Ball Co, founded in 1915. At age 24, she joined the business upon her marriage to her first husband, W. Henry Skip Ball, son of the founder, Henry B. Ball.

She earned the Gemological titles of GRADUATE GEMOLOGIST from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as well as REGISTERED JEWELER, CERTIFIED GEMOLOGIST, and was one of the first in the country to earn the CERTIFIED GEMOLOGIST APPRAISER title from the American Gem Society (AGS). She also earned the title MASTER GRADUATE GEMOLOGIST from the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO). She was a professional jewelry appraiser, having completed the INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF APPRAISERS core courses. She was an authority in the industry, was often the only woman in a room full of men at national meetings, paving the way in a man’s industry, and rising to sole owner and President of the family business as a single mother of six in 1971 when her husband, Skip, died. She remarried in 1973 to Tom Gorman, a Diamond Wholesaler, who passed away in 1979.

Mary traveled to Gem Mines worldwide for her profession including remote mines in Tanzania, Sapphire Mines in Ceylon, Opal mines in Australia, Pearl Beds in Japan, and Diamond Mines in South Africa.

Among her many industry-wide recognitions, she was past member of the Board of Directors of the American Gem Society, Jewelers of America, and Jewelers Vigilance Committee. She was also past President of the Ohio Jewelers Association and the Ohio Guild of the AGS. In 1996, The National Board of Jewelers of America appointed her to serve a 3-year term as its first woman treasurer. In addition, she was the AGS Conclave Chairman from 1988-1993. She also published several articles in the Jewelers Circular Keystone an industry-wide trade publication.

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Mary’s community involvement included giving many speeches about gemstones, as well as volunteering her time on the Woman’s Board of the Ohio Ballet, Board of Governors of the World Series of Golf, and Charter Member of the Women’s Board at St. Thomas Hospital, Junior League of Akron, and a Member of the Akron Bluecoats.

Mary was preceded in death by her two husbands, W. Henry Skip Ball of Akron and Thomas Gorman of Pittsburgh, son Fr. Damian Ball, O.P., and 12 brothers and sisters. She is survived by sons, James Ball of Orlando, Fla., Thomas Ball, Robert (Patricia) Ball, daughters, Barbara (John) Dietrich, all of Akron, and Nancy (Patrick) Martin Looby of Lake Forest, IL; 13 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren.

The family will receive friends Thursday February 22, 2024 from 10-11am at St. Sebastian Church with Mass of Christian Burial following at 11 a.m. Internment at Rose Hill.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Gorman, please visit our flower store.

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