Bishop David Ball, Class of 1953, who led the Episcopal Diocese of Albany for 14 years and who was devoted to preserving the historic Cathedral of All Saints, died Tuesday afternoon at the age of 90, in his room at the Loudonville Assisted Living Residence, where he had welcomed dozens of friends in recent days as they came to say their goodbyes to a beloved native son and spiritual beacon.
He had been receiving hospice care for a few weeks as his health declined. “He passed peacefully,” said Marlene Elacqua, Ball’s retired administrative assistant. “I always called him a shepherd who watched out for his flock. He was beloved by people wherever he went.”
As bishop from 1984 to 1998, he was the spiritual leader of 120 parishes spread across 19 counties between Pennsylvania and the Adirondacks. He devoted his life to preserving its Gothic grandeur of the Cathedral of All Saints and to serving as a spiritual beacon. With a gravelly voice and Everyman sensibility, he was welcoming presence to both blue bloods who had been parishioners of All Saints for generations and working-class African Americans from the nearby Arbor Hill neighborhood. Ball loved going to lunch at the Fort Orange Club, and also to volunteer at a soup kitchen in the inner city.