Willie Thomas “Tony” Ballanger, aka Bear, was born in Walker County, Georgia on June 28, 1940 to Willie (Bill) Ballanger and Betty Mae Suttles Ballanger.

He attended and graduated from Hill High School in Lafayette, Georgia. He was employed and retired from the Mueller Company. He was also a musician and taught several young men to play the guitar. He was a member of Chandler Chapel Baptist Church in Flintstone, Georgia and was one of their former musicians. He organized and performed for Gospel Sensation and The Gospel Messengers. He was an avid checkers player and loved to play cards.

He was predeceased by his parents, Willie and Betty Mae Ballanger; three brothers, Robert, Jerry and Enoch Ballanger; grandmothers, Lillie Ballanger and Audie Bell Freeman and one great-granddaughter, ChristiAnna Upshaw.

He is survived by a devoted wife of 61 years, Brenda Ballanger; 5 daughters, Vanessa (Glen) Martin, Jeanetta Ballanger, Dorothea Woods, Kim (Mark) Tony, Sabrina Ballanger, all of Chattanooga; 15 grandchildren, Chevy Burse, Glen Martin, Jr., Crystal Dunson, Damien Vinson, Chris Upshaw, Jeaneal Woodly, Quincy, Montell and Marlin Jones, Ishia Alexander, Daphanie Reese, Tony Reese, Will Reese, Charles Forte’, Markeion Jones; 39 great-grandchildren; sister, Mae Bell (Reginald) Cousin; brother, Larry (Norma) Ballanger; sisters-in-law, Christine Silmon and Mary Ballanger; brothers-in-law, Robert, John and Richard Lewis; aunts, Thelma Ballanger and Alberta Ballanger; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends; a dear friend, George O’Hara.

The public viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 24, followed by a chapel service at 2 p.m.

Arrangements are by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 423 622-9995.

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