NEWPORT NEWS - Mary Jane Thornton Allen died May 23, 2013 in Newport News, Virginia after a brief illness. She was 96. Mary Jane was born in Newark, Ohio, on April 15, 1917, to Eugene and Kerry Jackson. She led an adventurous life. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles where she also took flying lessons and ultimately soloed, but her flying days were cut short by World War II. Mary Jane then went into Civil Service where she was employed by the U.S. Army materiel command in the Dayton, Ohio area, the Army Attaché office in Tokyo, Japan, and the Air Force Attache office in London. In London she met and married Jim Thornton. She and Jim Thornton then moved to Hampton, Virginia. Mary Jane worked for the Navy until her retirement in 1973. After Jim Thornton died in 1973, Mary Jane was employed as secretary to the Director of the Apprentice School of Newport News Ship and Drydock Company from 1974 to 1990. Mary Jane traveled extensively. While in service she visited such locales Saigon, South Vietnam, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. After retirement Mary Jane continued to lead an active life. She was a Reader in the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Hampton. Mary Jane prided herself on her green thumb. She had a large rose garden and a vegetable garden that always included tomatoes, peppers, and squash. She continued to travel, going on a cruise to Mexico and going to England with her inlaws Jim and Lisa Metcalfe to visit "her boys" and her grandchildren and great grandchildren. In 2004 Mary Jane moved to The Arbors in Newport News where she met and then married Eugene Allen in 2009. Together and with Gene's sons and their wives, Mary Jane sailed to Puerto Rico and other Caribbean ports and Bermuda with Gene. She was preceded in death by her parents, Eugene and Kerry Jackson, her younger sister Virginia Roof of Ohio, her first husband, James Thornton, originally of London, England, and her stepson Dennis Thornton of Hertfordshire, England. She is survived by her husband Eugene Allen, her stepsons Brian and Sydney Thornton of Surrey, England, and their wives, and Brenda Thornton, widow of Dennis, nine step grandchildren, and eleven great grandchildren. Services were held on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at Parklawn-Wood Funeral Home. Interment was in Hampton-Veterans Memorial Gardens. Donations may be made in memory of Mary Jane to First Church of Christ, Scientist, 2808 Kecoughtan Road, Hampton, Virginia 23661, or a
. Friends are encouraged to visit www.parklawn-woodfh.com to share memories and words of condolence with the family.
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Published in Daily Press on May 29, 2013