Ballard Hill Cantrell of Pine Point, Rowayton, died on Monday, Jan. 30, at Norwalk Hospital after a brief illness. A sailor and woodworker, Mr. Cantrell, 91, grew up in Darien and lived in Rowayton for the past 52 years.

Mr. Cantrell was born in New York City on April 17, 1920, the only child of the late Ruth Ballard and Florent Cantrell. He was raised in Darien and attended local schools. At 14, Mr. Cantrell began working at Hickory Bluff in Rowayton, which began his life-long association there and his love of sailing.

Mr. Cantrell graduated from Darien High School in 1938 and soon began a 39-year career with the Southern New England Telephone Company. With advent of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served in the Communications Division, and worked tracking German U-boats in both Long Island Sound and New York Harbor. Mr. Cantrell was then transferred to the West Coast, where he was stationed at Camp McQuaid in Watsonville, Calif.

In 1949, Mr. Cantrell married Grace Ruddy of Stamford. She predeceased him in 1995.

Mr. Cantrell was an avid sailor, who enjoyed both long and short trips with family, friends and sometimes alone. He drew great strength from the sea. He was also a self-taught wood worker and produced many beautiful, intricate and creative pieces, his family said. His hobbies also included fishing and a love of dogs. A kind and gentle man, Ballard was always willing to help others.

Mr. Cantrell is survived by his two sons, Michael Cantrell and his wife Kay Pennington Cantrell of Madison, and Peter Cantrell of Rowayton; two grandchildren, Kimberly Cantrell and Christopher Cantrell of Madison.

There are no calling hours. A celebration of his life was held on Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Rowayton Yacht Club.

Memorial donations may be sent to Save the Sound, CT Fund for the Environment, 142 Temple Street, 3rd Floor, New Haven, CT 06510.

The Edward Lawrence Funeral Home in Darien is in charge of the arrangements.