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Kenneth L. Ballenger

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Kenneth L. Ballenger, 87, of Alamogordo, passed away at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center Nov. 3, 2008.
Kenneth Leigh Ballenger was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 28, 1921, to Harvey Leigh Ballenger and Mary Lealia Case Ballenger. He moved with his family to Las Vegas, N.M., graduated from Las Vegas High School and attended Highland University from 1939-42. While in school he found his lifelong friend and love in Inez Ward, whom he married April 16, 1944. 
Three months after their marriage, Ken was sent to Europe with the 104th Infantry Division, participated in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge in World War II. After his tour in Europe, Ken completed his undergraduate schooling in 1946 at Hardin Simmons in Abilene, Texas, with a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry.
But his passion and zeal in life was music. He returned to Hardin Simmons to achieve his degree with a bachelor's in music in voice in 1947. He went on to study opera production at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., and received his master's in music, music literature and voice in 1948.
For more than 38 years, Ken Ballenger had a distinguished career. He was a professor of music, performer, teacher and stage director - first at Stetson University in Deland, Fla., until 1953, then at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., until his retirement in 1985. He established a contemporary singing group named the Uarkettes, which was to become known as the singing ambassadors for the University of Arkansas. He produced over 15 grand operas, innumerable chamber operas and musicals; traveled extensively with his opera workshops and the Uarkettes; and appeared in four concert tours in Europe, Mexico, Canada and numerous concerts throughout the United States.
Ken was choirmaster of First United Presbyterian Church in Deland, Fla.; First United Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, Ark.; and First Presbyterian Church in Rogers, Ark. "Some Go! Some Stay!" was Ken's only published book as an outgrowth of his lifelong interest in the rapture of the church.
He was a Rotarian for more than 50 years, a member of the Alamogordo Rotary Club and was a past president of Fayetteville Rotary Club.
Ken is survived by his wife, Inez Ward Ballenger, of Alamogordo; his son David Ballenger and wife, Denise, of Charlotte, N.C.; his daughter Joan Griggs and husband, Ron, of Alamogordo; his granddaughter Brynn Hall and husband, Elam, of Charlotte, N.C.; his grandson Michael Ballenger and wife, Amy, of Orlando, Fla.; his granddaughter Erin Regrutto and husband, Ryan, of Pueblo, Colo.; his grandson Reid Griggs, of Littleton, Colo.; and great-granddaughter Adelyne Regrutto, of Pueblo.
A memorial service to celebrate Ken's life has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008, at Grace United Methodist Church, Alamogordo, with the Rev. Dr. Steven Trout and the Rev. Mary A. Taken officiating. Burial will be held at White Oaks Cemetery. Contact the Alamogordo Funeral Home for graveside service times. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions in Ken's name be sent to the Music Ministry at Grace United Methodist Church in Alamogordo or the Moody Bible Institute.
The Ballenger family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Alamogordo Funeral Home to direct the funeral services. 

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Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Nov. 4 to Nov. 20, 2008
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