Elder Michael H. Balenger, age 69, of Gladstone, passed away peacefully Friday afternoon, April 5, 2019, at UP Health System in Marquette, with his loving family by his side.
Mike was born October 6, 1949, in Escanaba, the son of Harry and Josephine (Moreau) Balenger. He was raised in Gladstone and was a graduate of Gladstone High School. On November 4, 1972, Mike was united in marriage to the former Colleen Shannon and together the couple made their home, raised their family and spent their entire lives together in Gladstone. Mike was employed as a union carpenter for most of his working career.
In 1982, Mike was ordained into the priesthood. Mike served as an elder at Community of Christ Church in Gladstone. His greatest purpose in life was serving God with an endless and unwavering faith. Mike’s positive attitude, kindness, generosity, faith, and toughness will be remembered fondly. He was an amazing example of someone who found purpose and positivity in his suffering. He had it worse than so many but never complained, rather he valued time with loved ones and focused on others over himself. When anyone asked Mike how he was feeling, his reply was always: “With my fingers”. He was a gentle, peaceful, humble man. He genuinely cared and deeply loved everyone. He generously offered life lessons, love, support, warm hugs and a joyful smile.
Mike’s greatest joy in life was his family. He knew life was precious and constantly reminded his wife and family how much he loved and appreciated them. He treasured his cell phone which allowed him to stay in contact with his “bored members” daily. He had an unconditional love for everyone; especially babies and little ones had a special place in his heart. He was his grandson Joe’s biggest fan and loved watching him play sports, especially basketball. Even when his health was poor he wouldn’t let that stop him from getting to the basketball games. Mike was grateful to the coaches that allowed him to sit in and watch practices, knowing that was one of the few pleasures he had left in life. He enjoyed watching a practice just as much as attending a game. Mike was a Gladstone Braves and Bay Norse supporter.
In addition to his loving wife Colleen, Mike is survived by:
Daughters: Pamela (Jim) Gibbs of Gladstone, MI
Sally (Rob) Rager of Port St. Lucie, FL
Brothers: Greg Balenger of Gladstone, MI
Scott (Brenda) Balenger of Gladstone, MI
Sisters: Annamae (Eugene) Nickell of Escanaba, MI
Debbie (John) Vargo of Escanaba, MI
Sisters-in-law: Maxine (Jim) Wellman, Kathy (Dennis) Wellman, Nancy Carlson all of Escanaba
Grandchildren: Amy Gibbs, Sandy (Tony) Nelson, and Joseph Gibbs
Great Grandchildren: Austin, Kaden, Zach, and Russell
Also listed among the surviving family are many nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Josephine:
Infant Son: Michael
Infant Daughter: Jessica
Brother: Walter “Wally” Balenger
Sisters-in-law: Tina Balenger, Marilyn Williams, Beverly Goodchild
Brothers-in-law: Derwith Carlson and Louis Williams
Mike’s family will receive friends on Wednesday, from 3:00PM to 5:00PM, at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone. Funeral services will follow visiting hours, at 5:00PM, at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone, with Elder Donna Ritchie officiating. Luncheon will follow funeral services at the Community of Christ Church Fellowship Hall. The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County are assisting with arrangements.