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STEPHEN EDMUND BALLINGER
September 26, 1949 ~ September 7, 2023 (age 73) 73 Years Old
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Stephen Edmund Ballinger was born in San Bernardino on Monday, September 26, 1949, the
fourth of five children born to Richard and Lolleta Ballinger.
At the age of 21, Steve joined the Army, serving our country as a medical technician for three
years. After his service, he joined the Riverside City Fire Department where he attained the
rank of captain before retiring after 20 years. During this time, he married his first wife, Rose,
and had two sons - Brian and Joseph.
He married his present wife, Sonja, in 1980 and became the father to Daniel and Ryan.
In 1993, Steve became an associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship where he began
Shield of Faith, a ministry to first responders and their families. This was the beginning of
God’s mission for him for the next 30 years. After the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001,
Steve began training to become a chaplain. The following year, he became a chaplain with the
Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. In 2005, he became the lead chaplain for the Riverside
Police and Fire Departments.
In 2008, Steve decided to devote his time to chaplaincy, leaving the pastorship and starting his
own 501(C)3 chaplain organization - Living Shield Ministries. He went on to become the lead
chaplain for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and the Southern Chapter of the
California Concerns for Police Survivors (COPS), as well as a chaplain with the Billy Graham
Rapid Response Team.
Over the last 30 years, Steve devoted his life to serving his community - seeking not only to
bring comfort to those experiencing trauma and loss, but to equip others to do the same.
Through Living Shield Ministries, Steve trained up hundreds of chaplains to carry the work of
comfort and support to local, national, and international communities.
After a prolonged health battle, Steve died in Riverside on Thursday, September 7, 2023, with
his devoted wife at his side. He is survived by his wife, his four sons Brian, Dan, Ryan, and
Joe, 11 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren. his brother Richard Ballinger, sisters Margret
Stanley, and Carole Smallwood along with many nieces and nephews. He is also preceded in
death by his brother Robert Ballinger and sister Virginia Xavier..
A memorial service will be held at The Grove Community Church (19900 Grove Community
Drive, Riverside, CA 92506) on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at 11am.
Arrangements Entrusted to the Care of Akes Family Funeral Home, Riverside, California.