Harriett Ann (Allen) Layne

1934 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Harriett Ann (Allen) Layne Obituary
Harriett Ann (Allen) Layne The family of Harriett Layne sadly announces her passing on Saturday March 8, 2014, in Petaluma, California. Her 79 years were filled with many blessings, and many were left richer for having known her. Harriett is preceded in death by her parents, Hermon and Sarah Allen; and her husband of 41 years, Benjamin Layne. Harriett is survived by three children: Steven Layne, of Wellington, Florida; and Debra Layne Gee and Sherry Layne, of Novato, California. She also is survived by five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Harriett was born April 23rd, 1934 in Dale Texas. Her parents were school teachers and life members of the Texas Teachers Association. In her teenage years, the family moved to Kilgore, Texas where Harriett was accepted onto the Kilgore Rangerettes, a precision baton twirling drill team. While studying at Southwest Texas State University, Harriett worked full-time at Gary Air Force Base. The base was a training center for primary and advanced pilots, in the United States Air Force. Working in the administration office, Harriett met and fell in love with a young lieutenant named Benjamin Layne, who was a recent graduate from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. They married on March 14, 1953. Recognizing the opportunities from the growth in the Texas oil and gas industry, Ben elected to resign from the Air Force to pursue a career in business. Moving was a part of their early lives, eventually settling in Gainseville, Texas. Harriett was busy working and raising two young children and volunteering with the First Baptist Church. Shortly after a job transfer to Houston in 1961, their third child Sherry was born. Sherry had major health issues from a very early age. Harriett became a tireless advocate for Sherry, pursuing every avenue she could find to identify the issues. Special schooling, testing, medication, and patterning techniques were all prescribed. Sherry's autism and seizure disorder diagnosis was given in the beginning of 1966. Moving to California, in the fall of 1966, was a double blessing. Standard Oil wanted to transfer Ben to San Francisco, and the first autistic school in the country was accepting students in Larkspur, California. Harriett and Ben knew that this was where God wanted them to be. They made their home in Novato and, after visiting the First Baptist Church (now Quest Novato), joined their new church family. Harriett joined the choir, organized church socials and youth outings, volunteered with Special Olympics of Marin County and numerous other activities, while working full time at Novato High School and raising three children. Their lives changed immeasurably in 1986 when Harriett contracted Hodgkins disease. Surviving the ordeal, she realized God had given her a second chance to be of service. Harriett became even more involved in volunteering at the Church, and was an ever-present figure in helping at the Salvation Army, the Northern California Disaster Relief agency, and the Northern California Baptist Disaster Program. She coordinated disaster relief during floods, fires and earthquakes throughout California. Harriett was a tireless advocate for God's message of love in our community. A public memorial service will be held at The Quest, located at 1461 S Novato Blvd, Novato, California on April 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Sunrise Appreciation Fund, 815 Wood Sorrel Drive, Petaluma, CA 94954.
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Mar. 16, 2014
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