Cole was born in Chelan, in 1966 and grew up in Sanders County, Mont. He went to school K-8 in Heron, Mont. and graduated high school from Thompson Falls, Mont. in 1984. He spent 4 years in the military before moving back to Montana to raise a family.
He spent over 10 years supporting local schools as a little guy and high school wrestling coach. Cole loved to fish, camp and just be in the outdoors. He was an amazing woodworker, mechanic, CPR instructor and all around handyman. There wasn’t anything Cole didn’t put his whole heart into and couldn’t accomplish. His family meant everything to him and there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for them or his friends.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Sally A. Ballenger and father Anthony W. Ballenger. He is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 29 years, Connie Sue Thomas Ballenger; his three children Kelli Sue A. Ballenger Hensley of Trout Creek, Mont., Russ C. Ballenger of Dickinson, N.D. and Roy J. Ballenger of Trout Creek, Mont. He is also survived by three brothers, Lyle Ballenger of Belgrade, Mont., Kevin Ballenger of Missoula, Mont. and Keith Ballenger of Missoula. Cole also has four grandsons who he loved so much - Alex C. Hensley, Kamdin J. Hensley, Jaxon W. Hensley and Ryker J. Zimmerman.
A memorial service is planned for July 13, 2014, at the Thompson Falls High School Gym at 2 p.m. Any donations to help the family with memorial costs can be made to the “Ballenger Benefit Fund” at the First Security Bank in Thompson Falls, Mont.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our family during this tragic time.