Brandt Allen Ballenger, 9, of Swansea, Ill., born June 25, 2004, in St. Louis, Mo., passed away peacefully Tuesday, July 23, 2013, at Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis, Mo., after a courageous battle with cancer. Without a single complaint, Brandt valiantly fought.
Brandt was unrepeatable. There was a magic about him that was all his own. His blue eyes twinkled and shared his joyous soul with everyone. Brandt had the capability of making everyone in a room feel equally loved. His smile captivated thousands, as many caught his contagious spark of love. It was a pleasure to witness his exceptional and unique relationships with his grandparents.
Brandt attended Wolf Branch School in Swansea, Ill. Brandt never met a stranger, whether child or adult. Wolf Branch, its students, faculty, and families were treasured by Brandt. Brandt was an accomplished "Gamer" and techie. We would like to thank the Apple Corporation, as the iPad was his constant companion throughout his illness. 500 apps barely kept him occupied. Brandt was a cherished member of the First United Presbyterian Youth Group. We rest in the knowledge that Brandt had a personal relationship with Jesus. The Team Brandt Khoury League baseball team was a source of fun, support, and friendship. Brandt loved YMCA swimming, the St. Louis Zoo and interacting with animals, and his Make-A-Wish trip to Florida with the yellow Minion buddies in Despicable Me.
Brandt was an unselfish gift-giver. He would loan his iPad to other cancer patients in the hospital. Shopping at the Christmas Santa Cottage for loved ones was a favorite pastime. More than anything, the most prized gifts that Brandt bestowed upon us were his amazing and abundant hugs. He initiated "hug/kiss" and it was a priceless part of our relationship. Brandt was famous for his joke and prank repertoire -from Whoopee cushions to marshmallow guns, he made it fun to be a target.
Welcoming Brandt with open arms in heaven are his Grandpa Van Smith and his cousin, Gabrielle Kirchoff.
Surviving are his devoted parents, Jeff and Robin Ballenger; his grandparents, Don and Robin Ballenger, Sue and Joe Janik, and Ann Smith; his aunts and uncles, Julie and Phil Becker, Natalie and Chris Karius, Tammie Ballenger, Christine and Ben Kirchoff, Tad and Trista Smith, and Lindsey and Stan Simek.
Brandt is survived by seven cousins, Brock, Broden, Drew, Sydney, Tate, Sage, and Sawyer.
A beautiful life that came to an end,
he died as he lived, everyone's friend.
In our hearts a memory will always be kept,
of one we loved and will never forget.
A beautiful part of this journey was benefiting from so much concentrated time to know a child as intimately in nine years as some would in a lifetime. We thank our employers, Sedgwick and Palmer Leasing, for this gift of time to spend with our son. We would like to issue special thanks to Mrs. Wyatt and the Wolf Branch family, Jason and Caitlin Motte, the thousands of Team Brandt supporters, and Dr. Chris Hugge and the entire staff of Cardinal Glennon Hospital. This was our second home for 20 months, and we value relationships from housekeeping to the CEO. We are humbled by the 9,000 Team Brandt supporters' wishes.
Brandt's favorite place on earth was the St. Louis Zoo. In lieu of flowers and in honor of Brandt, we are requesting memorials toward a plaque and bench at a special place in the Zoo that will be permanently displayed for visitors, family, and friends for years to come. Donations should be made to: St. Louis Zoo Foundation, c/o Brandt Ballenger, PO Box 790290, St. Louis, MO 63179-0290. Condolences may also be expressed online at www.rennerfh.com
Funeral: A memorial service to celebrate Brandt's life will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 27, 2013, at First United Presbyterian Church, 1303 Royal Heights Road, Belleville, Ill., with the Rev. Robert Dyer officiating.
GEORGE RENNER & SONS FUNERAL HOME, Belleville, Ill.