Staff

Our dedicated staff members are here to provide support, compassion, and information to help you through your journey of grief and the celebration of your loved one’s life.

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Tanya “T” Rae Ballensky, CFSP Owner/Operator

Certified in Grief Recovery and Equine Assisted Learning.

Tanya “T” Ballensky started her career in funeral service in 2000 as an embalmer in Denver, Colorado while attending mortuary school. She became Licensed in the state of Montana in 2002 after completing her internship with Bullis Mortuary in Hardin and Miles City. In 2008 Tanya purchased Cremation & Funeral Gallery where she had been employed since 2004 and in 2014 she opened Heights Family Funeral Home. In 2016 Tanya received her career designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner. The achievement signifies her commitment to raise and improve the professional standards of funeral service practice and pursue lifelong learning.

In 2013 Tanya became certified in grief and bereavement services and in 2016 she became certified as an Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator.

Tanya enjoys helping families and getting involved in community events. She is very passionate about helping others improve their quality of life. She loves being able to share her horses with the community by taking them to visit nursing homes and assisted living homes.

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Erik Stenberg Mortician/Funeral Director

Erik Stenberg has been a licensed Funeral Director /Embalmer in Montana since 1998.  He attended and graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science In Wheeling, Illinois in 1998.  Following graduation he returned to his home town of Big Timber where he was employed by Lowry Funeral Home until 2000.  From 2000 to 2004 he worked at Cremation or Funeral Gallery in Billings, and in 2004 he decided to move back to Big Timber and start his own firm, Stenberg Funeral Home, which he owns and operates today.  In 2016 he rejoined the staff at Cremation & Funeral Gallery and Heights Family Funeral Home.

Erik was Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Army as a SSgt and has been a member of American Legion Post #19 in Big Timber since 1993 and serves as a rifleman on the Honor Guard for veteran services. 

Erik and his wife Jolene have 2 sons and 4 grandchildren and when they have some free time they enjoy going to their cabin in the Bull Mountains and just relaxing.  Erik enjoys to hunt and fish and collecting   firearms.  He has hunted in the U.S., Canada and South Africa and has another safari scheduled in April 2021.

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Jerrilyn "Jay" Hecker Mortician/Funeral Director

Jerrilyn “Jay” Hecker is a licensed mortician and embalmer.  She obtained her Associate’s Degree in Mortuary Science from Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, CO. 

Jay helps to prepare deceased people for wakes, funerals and interment by embalming, dressing, cosmetically enhancing and casketing them and for cremations. In smaller funeral homes a funeral director performs the duties of a Mortician; also known as Embalmer or Undertaker.  Jay enjoys the challenges of embalming and providing the care needed to help families in this difficult time of their lives.

Jay is a care giver by nature.  She has been involved in health care since the 1990s.  She worked as a CNA for many years in home health care and long term care facilities,  Jay received her Associate’s Degree in Practical Nursing in 2001.  Nursing was not the right fit for her care giving, so Jay embarked on her Mortician career.

Jay enjoys nature through her eyes or the lens of a camera.  Tropical beaches are a favorite place for Jay to relax and unwind.  Mexico anyone??   She is family orientated and enjoys time to make memories for years to come.

Jay was born and raised in Montana.  A farm girl, growing up with 2 older brothers and doing chores, instilled a hard work ethic.   She was and still is a tomboy at heart. 

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Shawneal "Shawnee" Krauszer Mortician/Funeral Director

Shawneal (French) Krauszer joined the staff at Heights Family Funeral Home and Cremation & Funeral Gallery in October 2019, primarily serving families at Heights.  She attended MSU-B before moving to Portland, OR where she graduated as the 2002 Valedictorian from Mount Hood Community College with an Associates of Applied Science in Funeral Service.

Shawnee has over 17 years of experience in funeral service and has served countless families in Billings and surrounding area. Throughout her career she been recognized for various achievements including 40 Funeral Directors under the age of 40 by the National Funeral Directors Association, (earning the opportunity to study on the Campus at Harvard University among other young funeral service professionals from across the United States), Served the Montana Funeral Directors Association for many years completing her term as President of the Association from 2014-2015, NFDA Advocacy allowing her to travel to Washington D.C. to lobby for local causes and meet with legislative officials, and participated in the Selected Independent Funeral Homes Leadership Training. Shawnee has also been recognized as a Billings 40 Under 40, Graduate of Leadership Billings, and Graduate and Alumni of Leadership Montana. She is a member of the Breakfast Exchange Club of Billings, also serving as a Board Member and Chair of the Outreach Committee. Her previous service includes Church Council Member of American Lutheran Church, and Court Appointed Special Advocate for CASA of Yellowstone County, along with countless volunteer hours for local organizations.

Aside from working as a funeral Director, Shawnee enjoys serving women as a cabi clothing stylist. She and her husband Scott love to travel, and spend time outdoors camping and floating the rivers of Montana on their white water raft. She is also an accomplished gardener and a stellar home cook and can throw a party like no other! Just ask her...   Shawnee and Scott are members at American Lutheran Church and belong to the Hilands Golf Club where they enjoy golf and socializing with friends, and planning member events with the Social Committee. They have 2 dogs Buddy and Zoomer, and a brood of nieces and nephews. 

Shawnee has a desire to serve those in her community and is excited to work alongside the staff at Heights Family Funeral Home and Cremation & Funeral Gallery

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Jason Brister Funeral Home Assistant/Crematory Operator

Jason has lived in Billings for most of his life. Jason graduated from Skyview High school. He then went and studied some college credits at Rocky Mountain College and MSU of Billings. Jason plans on pursuing a mortuary science degree from Des Moines Area Community college.  Before starting with Cremation & Funeral Gallery, Jason worked at Target and Kohl’s in Billings. Jason started his career at Cremation & Funeral Gallery in 2009. Jason assists with everyday tasks at both locations, Cremation & Funeral Gallery and Heights Family Funeral Home.  He also holds a Crematory Operators license at both locations. Jason is involved with the Heights Exchange club. One of his favorite events to attend with the Heights Exchange club is Student of the Month.  In his spare time he enjoys riding his motorcycle and just keeping busy with household tasks.

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Anna Domagala Administrative Assistant at HFFH

Anna was born and raised in Bowman, ND. She received an Associate Degree from Dickinson State College, Dickinson, ND. Most of her adult life was spent in Bismarck, ND, working for the state in higher education. In 2012, she moved to Billings to be closer to family. Before starting with Heights Family Funeral Home & Crematory in October 2019, she worked for six years at a legal firm. She enjoys watching TV and movies, reading, baking, and an occasional puzzle.

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Lacie Johnson Administrative Assistant at CFG

Lacie was raised in Billings, MT, and grew up showing livestock and competing in 4-H. She graduated from Skyview High School in 2016, and is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Mortuary Science from Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, CO. She has worked for Heights Family Funeral Home and Cremation & Funeral Gallery since March 2018 while going to school.

Tanya “T” Rae Ballensky, CFSP

Owner/Operator
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Certified in Grief Recovery and Equine Assisted Learning.

Tanya “T” Ballensky started her career in funeral service in 2000 as an embalmer in Denver, Colorado while attending mortuary school. She became Licensed in the state of Montana in 2002 after completing her internship with Bullis Mortuary in Hardin and Miles City. In 2008 Tanya purchased Cremation & Funeral Gallery where she had been employed since 2004 and in 2014 she opened Heights Family Funeral Home. In 2016 Tanya received her career designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner. The achievement signifies her commitment to raise and improve the professional standards of funeral service practice and pursue lifelong learning.

In 2013 Tanya became certified in grief and bereavement services and in 2016 she became certified as an Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator.

Tanya enjoys helping families and getting involved in community events. She is very passionate about helping others improve their quality of life. She loves being able to share her horses with the community by taking them to visit nursing homes and assisted living homes.

Erik Stenberg

Mortician/Funeral Director
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Erik Stenberg has been a licensed Funeral Director /Embalmer in Montana since 1998.  He attended and graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science In Wheeling, Illinois in 1998.  Following graduation he returned to his home town of Big Timber where he was employed by Lowry Funeral Home until 2000.  From 2000 to 2004 he worked at Cremation or Funeral Gallery in Billings, and in 2004 he decided to move back to Big Timber and start his own firm, Stenberg Funeral Home, which he owns and operates today.  In 2016 he rejoined the staff at Cremation & Funeral Gallery and Heights Family Funeral Home.

Erik was Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Army as a SSgt and has been a member of American Legion Post #19 in Big Timber since 1993 and serves as a rifleman on the Honor Guard for veteran services. 

Erik and his wife Jolene have 2 sons and 4 grandchildren and when they have some free time they enjoy going to their cabin in the Bull Mountains and just relaxing.  Erik enjoys to hunt and fish and collecting   firearms.  He has hunted in the U.S., Canada and South Africa and has another safari scheduled in April 2021.

Jerrilyn "Jay" Hecker

Mortician/Funeral Director
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Jerrilyn “Jay” Hecker is a licensed mortician and embalmer.  She obtained her Associate’s Degree in Mortuary Science from Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, CO. 

Jay helps to prepare deceased people for wakes, funerals and interment by embalming, dressing, cosmetically enhancing and casketing them and for cremations. In smaller funeral homes a funeral director performs the duties of a Mortician; also known as Embalmer or Undertaker.  Jay enjoys the challenges of embalming and providing the care needed to help families in this difficult time of their lives.

Jay is a care giver by nature.  She has been involved in health care since the 1990s.  She worked as a CNA for many years in home health care and long term care facilities,  Jay received her Associate’s Degree in Practical Nursing in 2001.  Nursing was not the right fit for her care giving, so Jay embarked on her Mortician career.

Jay enjoys nature through her eyes or the lens of a camera.  Tropical beaches are a favorite place for Jay to relax and unwind.  Mexico anyone??   She is family orientated and enjoys time to make memories for years to come.

Jay was born and raised in Montana.  A farm girl, growing up with 2 older brothers and doing chores, instilled a hard work ethic.   She was and still is a tomboy at heart. 

Shawneal "Shawnee" Krauszer

Mortician/Funeral Director
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Shawneal (French) Krauszer joined the staff at Heights Family Funeral Home and Cremation & Funeral Gallery in October 2019, primarily serving families at Heights.  She attended MSU-B before moving to Portland, OR where she graduated as the 2002 Valedictorian from Mount Hood Community College with an Associates of Applied Science in Funeral Service.

Shawnee has over 17 years of experience in funeral service and has served countless families in Billings and surrounding area. Throughout her career she been recognized for various achievements including 40 Funeral Directors under the age of 40 by the National Funeral Directors Association, (earning the opportunity to study on the Campus at Harvard University among other young funeral service professionals from across the United States), Served the Montana Funeral Directors Association for many years completing her term as President of the Association from 2014-2015, NFDA Advocacy allowing her to travel to Washington D.C. to lobby for local causes and meet with legislative officials, and participated in the Selected Independent Funeral Homes Leadership Training. Shawnee has also been recognized as a Billings 40 Under 40, Graduate of Leadership Billings, and Graduate and Alumni of Leadership Montana. She is a member of the Breakfast Exchange Club of Billings, also serving as a Board Member and Chair of the Outreach Committee. Her previous service includes Church Council Member of American Lutheran Church, and Court Appointed Special Advocate for CASA of Yellowstone County, along with countless volunteer hours for local organizations.

Aside from working as a funeral Director, Shawnee enjoys serving women as a cabi clothing stylist. She and her husband Scott love to travel, and spend time outdoors camping and floating the rivers of Montana on their white water raft. She is also an accomplished gardener and a stellar home cook and can throw a party like no other! Just ask her...   Shawnee and Scott are members at American Lutheran Church and belong to the Hilands Golf Club where they enjoy golf and socializing with friends, and planning member events with the Social Committee. They have 2 dogs Buddy and Zoomer, and a brood of nieces and nephews. 

Shawnee has a desire to serve those in her community and is excited to work alongside the staff at Heights Family Funeral Home and Cremation & Funeral Gallery

Jason Brister

Funeral Home Assistant/Crematory Operator
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Jason has lived in Billings for most of his life. Jason graduated from Skyview High school. He then went and studied some college credits at Rocky Mountain College and MSU of Billings. Jason plans on pursuing a mortuary science degree from Des Moines Area Community college.  Before starting with Cremation & Funeral Gallery, Jason worked at Target and Kohl’s in Billings. Jason started his career at Cremation & Funeral Gallery in 2009. Jason assists with everyday tasks at both locations, Cremation & Funeral Gallery and Heights Family Funeral Home.  He also holds a Crematory Operators license at both locations. Jason is involved with the Heights Exchange club. One of his favorite events to attend with the Heights Exchange club is Student of the Month.  In his spare time he enjoys riding his motorcycle and just keeping busy with household tasks.

Anna Domagala

Administrative Assistant at HFFH
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Anna was born and raised in Bowman, ND. She received an Associate Degree from Dickinson State College, Dickinson, ND. Most of her adult life was spent in Bismarck, ND, working for the state in higher education. In 2012, she moved to Billings to be closer to family. Before starting with Heights Family Funeral Home & Crematory in October 2019, she worked for six years at a legal firm. She enjoys watching TV and movies, reading, baking, and an occasional puzzle.

Lacie Johnson

Administrative Assistant at CFG
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Lacie was raised in Billings, MT, and grew up showing livestock and competing in 4-H. She graduated from Skyview High School in 2016, and is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Mortuary Science from Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, CO. She has worked for Heights Family Funeral Home and Cremation & Funeral Gallery since March 2018 while going to school.