At 93 years old, Bess W. Ball – an accomplished businesswoman, skilled marketer, beloved community supporter, and passionate volunteer – has passed away.

Bess W. Ball, a former Philadelphia native, passed away on April 23rd at the age of 93. She was the founder of marketing and communications firm BG&R Associates, as well as being a former co-publisher and editor of Tri-State Minority Yellow Pages. Mrs. Ball was a business leader, women’s advocate, volunteer, and mentor. She had complications after she fell at Carlisle’s assisted living center in Palm Beach, Lantana, Florida.

In the early 1980s, she founded BG&R Associates, which was based in Philadelphia. Before she retired in 2007, her marketing efforts at BG&R included award-winning public service announcements for the Philadelphia School District and economic revitalization and housing for her beach town of Atlantic, South Carolina. On May 2, the South Carolina House of Representatives passed a resolution “to express our deepest sorrow…to celebrate her life and to extend her heartfelt condolences.”

Mrs. Ball was an adept fundraiser, obtaining grants and building alliances, and served on the boards of more than 20 organizations. She has an interest in urban beautification and recreation, and has worked as an advisor and mentor to program organizers and students at North Carolina Central University, her alma mater, West Philadelphia High School.

She won many entrepreneurial and business awards, including the Philadelphia chapter of the National Black Women’s Political Conference and the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. As a leader of the International Life Experiment, she organized youth exchanges that connect people around the world. Mrs. Ball was also an expert in clothing design and tailoring, selling dresses and other clothing items and hosting fashion shows.

Bessie Woodbury was born on January 30, 1930, in Hemingway, South Carolina, and grew up in Marion, South Carolina, working at her parents’ grocery store. She attended Morris of Atlanta College, earned a bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from Central University of North Carolina in Durham, attended graduate school at Temple University, and graduated from Charles Morris Price Advertising and Journalism School.

Mrs. Ball was an avid golfer, and she often hit shots in her mid-90s. She enjoyed traveling, reading, attending Broadway shows, and walking the beach. She was a beautiful human being who reached out to people all over the world, said her son. Her funeral service will be held at the Jerusalem AME Church in Hemingway, South Carolina, on May 12.

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