SHELBY - Dr. Garland Henry Allen died peacefully in his home in Boiling Springs at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. He was born Oct. 19, 1922, in Tuckerman, Ark., and grew up on a family farm with his parents and two brothers. He attended a local Union school through 12 grades.
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At 16 years of age, Dr. Allen became an ordained Baptist minister. He attended Ouachita Baptist College in Arkadelphia, Ark. After graduating with a teaching degree in 1944, he entered Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky. There he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree and a Masters of Arts, before completing a Doctorate of Philosophy. He also minored in Old Testament and Historical Theology.
Dr. Allen began his career in Walnut Ridge, Ark., teaching at Southern Baptist College (now Williams College). After four years he moved with his family to Millington, Tenn., where he and his wife, Evelyn, taught History and English at Millington Public High School. Simultaneously, Dr. Allen worked towards completion of a Masters of Arts in European History.
In 1961, Dr. Allen was asked to join the faculty of Gardner-Webb College in Boiling Springs, and he relocated with his family to the home he has known ever since. Initially serving as the Head of the Religion Department, Dr. Allen moved to the History Department and continued to teach both history and religion throughout his tenure at Gardner-Webb, eventually being named Professor Emeritus in 1990. His tenure saw Gardner-Webb transcend from a two-year college to a four-year university.
From 1961-1989, Dr. Allen also took on the position of golf coach at Gardner-Webb, leading his team to two NAIA national championships and being named National Coach of the Year in 1976 and 1977. The success of the golf program under Dr. Allen produced continued national rankings, several district championships, numerous All-Americans, and the induction of Dr. Allen into the Gardner-Webb Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to coaching responsibilities, Dr. Allen later served as Athletic Director for the university.
Besides his devotion to teaching and the golf team, Dr. Allen enjoyed many extra-curricular activities. He is a past member of the Cleveland County Senior Gold Association. He was active in the Boiling Springs Baptist Church, where he was a Sunday school teacher and a deacon. He was a Boy Scout Committeeman for Troop 117 for over 25 years. He enjoyed helping young men through decision-making, raising funds, and encouraging Scouts to advance through their achievements in the Court of Honor. He was active in the Bulldog Club at Gardner-Webb, and rarely missed a ballgame. He was a member of the Lion's Club in Boiling Springs and was devoted to the causes undertaken by the club for 25 years.
For many years Dr. Allen had a passion for fly-fishing, which subsided only when he took up golf. As a transplanted Arkansas farmer, he always had a large garden on nearby property that kept the family well stocked with fresh vegetables, and he loved his rose garden as well. It was not uncommon for Dr. Allen to deliver both vegetables and roses all around town. Dr. Allen was also an active member of the Sierra Club and World Wildlife Fund.
Dr. Allen made many personal relationships with students, golfers, and faculty members over the years, and each year the Garland H. Allen Golf Invitational is held in support of his scholarship fund at Riverbend Golf Course. This scholarship continues to support new golfers coming to Gardner-Webb to help sustain the quality and reputation of the program to which he devoted so much of his time and energy.
Dr. Allen is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Mary Evelyn Allen (Garrison); and brother Don Allen of Alma, Ark. He leaves behind one daughter, Susan Pearson and husband Derrell of Shelby; and a son, Bill (Henry) Allen and wife Ann of Athens, Ga. Grandchildren include Wesley Philbeck and wife Megan of Annapolis, Md., (Thomas) Drew Philbeck and wife Imme of Geneva, Switzerland, and Rebecca Allen of Melbourne, Australia. He is also step-grandfather to Kevin Pearson of Winston-Salem and Wendy Pearson of Bend, Ore. Great-grandchildren include Thomas, Jack, Joseph, Eileen and Michael Philbeck of Annapolis, Md., plus Milla and Charlotte Philbeck of Geneva, Switzerland.
Visitation: The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church.
Funeral service: 3 p.m. Wednesday at Boiling Springs Baptist Church
Burial: Private family gathering following the funeral at Hollybrook Cemetery in Lincolnton.
Funeral home: Cecil M. Burton is in charge of funeral arrangements.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, may be made to the Garland H. Allen Golf Scholarship at Gardner-Webb University, or in his name to the Hospice of Cleveland County.
CECIL M. BURTON FUNERAL HOME and CREMATORY
106 CHERRYVILLE RD.
Shelby, NC 28150-4208
Published in Shelby Star on June 4, 2014