Helen Allen

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Allen, Helen Matilda Helen Allen (Helen) was born in De Graff, Kansas on January 13, 1917. She died on June 22, 2018 at the age of 101. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Mary and Martin Spark, her sister, Marjorie Maxim, and her husband, John F. Allen. She is survived by her daughter, Marcia Allen (Horace Santry). She grew up in rural De Graff, where her father was the stationmaster for the railroad. As a teenager, Helen's family moved to El Dorado so she and her sister could attend high school; and later, the family moved again, this time so the girls could attend college at Wichita University. Throughout her teenage years, Helen was encouraged to play the violin and became very proficient, playing duets with her pianist sister at events in El Dorado and Wichita. She also played with the university orchestra. Graduating in 1939 with a business degree, Helen found her first job at Beech Aircraft where she became a supervisor of the women who did keypunch (paychecks) and accounting. She met her future husband, John, at Beech where they worked long hours during the war effort. They were married in 1943. Helen left Beech following the war to begin a family. She then became the model 1950's "homemaker," which she did out of love-not joy-and volunteered in the community, particularly at the Veterans' Administration hospital. "They were the nicest people and they appreciated what we were doing." In her fifties, Helen went to real estate classes, got a license and became a realtor. "If you feel you're doing something worthwhile and making progress, you enjoy it." After a few years, Helen was once again drawn into caring for hearth and home. She and John did travel extensively, both in the U.S. and abroad. Helen was indeed a woman ahead of her time. She loved having a job and earning money, but the social construct for a woman of her era was to be a homemaker. She did not enjoy this work but did it extremely well. Above all, she was a dedicated, loving wife and mother and happily reported many times that she'd had an "excellent life." A memorial service will be held for Helen Allen on Saturday, July 14 at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 7202 E. 21st Street N. in Wichita. Donations in Helen's memory may be sent to Larksfield Place, 7373 E. 29thStreet N., Wichita, KS 67226.
Published in The Wichita Eagle from July 8 to July 13, 2018