Jack McKinley Allen, 90, of Altus, passed away early Friday morning, March 14, 2014, at the Clinton Veteran's Center in Clinton.
Jack was born in Carnegie on April 30, 1923, to Joe and Simmie (Phillips) Allen. Moving to Altus in 1932, Jack attended Altus Schools where he was an outstanding athlete, earning three letters as a football player for Altus High School and was quarterback for the local team during the 1941 season, graduating in 1942. After high school, Jack joined the Army Air Corps on Aug. 22, 1942. Twenty year old, Sgt. Jack Allen, who was a crew chief and gunner on a Flying Fortress, had been overseas approximately three months when he went missing and failed to return from a combat mission on Jan. 4, 1943. His plane was shot down over Keal, Denmark and he was captured and marched 200 miles to Krms, Austria to the famous prison camp Stalag 17, where he was a prisoner of war for 17 months. Returning to the United States after VJ Day in 1945, Jack enrolled at Southwestern College where he began working towards his teaching degree. On Jan. 7, 1947, he married, Leona Eugene Griggs, and they spent the next 56 wonderful years together before her death on July 23, 2003. After graduating from college, Jack taught and coached at Dodson, Texas and Samnorwood, Texas. When he returned to Altus, he began barbering at his parent's barbershop next to Ragsdale Bakery on North Main. In 1958, the family moved to Washington State to homestead a potato farm. Five years later they returned to Altus where Jack cut hair until 1970. After retiring from the barber shop, Jack and Leona raised grandbabies and took care of their rent houses for many years. When his heath began to decline in 2008, he moved to the Clinton VA Center where he lived until his death. A sports fanatic, Jack enjoyed watching sports on television especially the Sooners. For as long as he could go, Jack attended every Altus Bulldog football game and didn't miss one of his grandchildren's ballgames.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Leona; one granddaughter, Brandi Gobeille; and a sister, Louise Allen.
He is survived by five children, David Jones of Graham, Wash., Kay Thaggard of Dodge City, Kan., Roger Allen and wife Sue of Olustee, Reggie Allen and wife Cindy of Altus, and Robin Watson and husband Dale of Altus; eight grandchildren, Kristy Grob and husband Jim, Robert Jones and wife Pam, Michael Thaggard and wife Amber, Johnna Sims and husband Fred, Beau Allen, Ashley Allen, Charla Watson, Reese Watson and wife Madison, Matt Adams, Daniel Adams and wife Brandi and Sarah Igo and husband Trevor; 17 great-grandchildren; one sister, DeEsta Graves of Hobart; along with many other relatives and friends.
Graveside services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Monday at the Altus City Cemetery under the direction of Lowell-Tims Funeral Home of Altus.
Online tributes may be made to the family at www.Lowell-Tims.com