Major-Ball, Terry 1932-2007

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Major-Ball, Terry 1932-2007


See index for CA sketch: Born July 2, 1932, in Old Malden, Surrey, England; died March 13, 2007. Businessperson, electrician, and author. The manager of a garden ornament company, Major-Ball's claim to fame was being the older brother of former British Prime Minister John Major. He was an undistinguished student who attended Stoneleigh East Central before embarking on a series of jobs. After his National Service, he was thrown out of a manager trainee program at Woolworth's department store. He worked in the plastics industry for a year, and then the South Eastern Electricity Board hired him as a maintenance man for eleven years. Here he gained the reputation of a klutz who was subject to tripping down stairs and, in once incident, electrocuting himself. Through all this, he managed his father's business, which produced garden gnomes. Though he kept his ailing father's business afloat, he continued to work other jobs. After leaving South Eastern, he spent fifteen years with Philips Service, which was part of Philips Electronics, retiring in 1989. When his brother John became prime minister in 1990 the politician's family member was a bit of an embarrassment to the leader of Britain, but Major-Ball did nothing to create a stir for his brother. He was surprised to receive considerable attention, which included chances to travel abroad and dine in fine restaurants. He also wrote columns in British newspapers and frequently appeared on television, yet he refused to reveal any family secrets that might cause the prime minister to blush. After retiring, he began researching his family history, which led to his only book, Major Major: Memories of an Older Brother (1994). When his brother left office, Major-Ball retreated into obscurity, though when recognized he never felt ashamed of talking about his years making garden gnomes.



Times (London, England), April 21, 2007, p. 76.