Martha Harvey (Allen) Allen of Jacksonville, Fla., passed away peacefully on August 25, 2021. Martha was born on September 12th, 1921, in Nashville, Tenn. to Esther Louise Sanford and Horace Leonard Allen. Martha & her older sister, Esther, lost their mother in 1928, and, due to their father's business travels, went to live with & were raised by their Aunt Mary Sanford Allen Brown whose husband was a career Marine. As children they lived in Philadelphia, PA., Quantico, VA., Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Port – au – Prince, Haiti and later California.
Martha attended Sacred Heart Convent in Overbrook, PA (where The Reverend Mother happened to have been in school with her mother) and then graduated in 1939 from Springside School in Philadelphia. In 1941, she graduated from Ward-Belmont College, a prestigious women's finishing school (now Belmont University) in Nashville, TN., where she received a diploma in Voice. In 1941, she was attending the Fine Arts School of Vanderbilt University where she had pledged Tri Delta sorority when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and war was declared. In 1942, she was living in San Diego, CA. with her aunt & uncle, then stationed at Camp Roberts. She met her future husband, Captain William Wheat Allen, Jr., at a dance there. She received only one postcard from him after that but somehow, he tracked her down in 1943 in Nashville when he was there on maneuvers for the US Army. They had two more dates and then married six weeks later July 10th, 1943, at The Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville, TN and she didn't have to change her last name.
After the war and during their married years, they lived in Nashville, Minneapolis, Toledo, New York City and St. Louis, due to her husband's career with Owens-Corning Fiberglass Company. The Allen family moved to Ortega Forest in Jacksonville, Fla. In 1961, where they lived for 13 years. After her husband died in 1974, Martha moved to River Shore Village Condominiums in 1975 where she lived alone for 39 years. In 1976, she was elected Treasurer and in 1997, President, of the Condominium Association Board. She served both positions continuously and faithfully until she moved to the Windsor of Ortega in 2015.
Martha was the daughter of a charter member of the Junior League of Nashville and was active in the Junior Leagues of every city she lived in since joining in 1944. In Jacksonville, she served as the Chairman for the Heart Fund Drive in 1965, a position she held for several years as well as serving on the Board of The Northeast Florida Heart Association
at the same time. Martha was also Chairman for the "Women for Nixon" campaign in 1968 and attended the Presidential Inauguration in 1969. She was a former member of the Jacksonville Symphony Guild. She was a member of the National Society of Colonial Dames, a member of the Florida Yacht Club, a former member of the Ponte Vedra Club and The University Club. A life-long Catholic, she was also a member of the choir at St. Mathew's Catholic Church and was an active member in the St. Teresa Church Circle, in which she served as Treasurer until her move into The Windsor.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, William Wheat Allen, Jr., and her sister, Esther Allen Brown. She is survived by her son, William Wheat Allen, III of Matthews, N.C.; daughter, Mary Sanford Allen Howe of Hilton Head Island, SC; daughter-in-law, Gayle Grizzard Allen and son-in-law, John Arthur Howe; grandchildren John Cunningham Allen (Rachel) of Westminster, MD., and Elizabeth Sanford Allen Scott (George) of Charlotte, N.C.; four great-grandchildren, Alexis Elizabeth Allen, Connor John Allen, Sadie Elizabeth Scott and Sallie Quinn Scott, and many beloved nieces and nephews. The family wishes to thank her personal caregiver, LaRae Amos, as well as the current and former staff of The Windsor Ortega for their love and support to Martha.
A communion mass will be held at St. Matthew's Catholic Church on September 11th, 2021 at 10:30 AM, with internment immediately following at Evergreen Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held at 1:30 pm that afternoon at the Florida Yacht Club. Friends are invited to celebrate what would have been Martha's 100th birthday. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to St. Matthew's Catholic Church at 1773 Blanding Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida 32210 or the American Heart Association
Hardage-Giddens Rivermead, 127 Blanding Blvd., Orange Park, FL 32073, is serving the family.
Published by Florida Times-Union from Aug. 28 to Aug. 29, 2021.