Mary "Sis" Ballenger Shanks


August 10, 2023

Mary "Sis" Shanks

December 31, 1949

- July 10, 2023

Our mom, grammy, and friend, Sis, passed away Monday, July 10, at her home in Heron.

Sis was raised in Heron, and aside from short periods in Washington and Alaska, this is where she built her home and business, and where her heart always stayed. Sis spent three summers on the fire lookout at Squaw Peak, she treasured that time, and to her family that will always be "Mom's mountain." She was proud of, and thankful for, the business she built and the friends and acquaintances she made through Montana, Inc., her real estate agency of 25 years.

She was happiest at home in her yard and garden, or when she was in the mountains; hunting, fishing, horseback riding, picking huckleberries, or hiking. She was famous for pushing hiking partners along by promising "just one more switchback." Family was her world, and her grandkids were the center of that world. From baking to target practice she loved being a Grammy.

Sis was preceded in death by her brothers Jerry and Tony, and parents Joel and Mary Ballenger.

She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Melanie and Michael Olsen, and grandkids Joseph and Danica, as well as her sister and brother-in-law Judy and Wayne Laundry, niece and great niece Megan and Mia Olson, and countless other nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Our hearts are broken, but we are comforted in knowing that she will always be by our side.

A celebration of life will be held in August at her home in Heron, date to be announced. To honor her memory, tell a story, gather loved ones, and spend some time in the mountains.

Family and friends are invited to sign Mary's online guest book at

Arrangements are under the care of Coffelt Funeral Service.


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