Grace Louise Kleen Allen
Grace Louise Kleen Allen
May 1910 – November 2013
On November 25, 2013, we lost a wonderful mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great grandmother, who brought love and happiness to her family and many friends during her 103½ years of life. It can truly be said of Grace: “Everyone who knew her, loved her.”
Grace was born in Mill City, Oregon, near Salem and lived in that area where the family farmed during the years before she left to attend college at the Portland Bible Institute. She always loved school and playing the piano and had a very happy time with her 3 siblings, Ralph, Nellie and Walt, who have all preceded her in death. Grace met her husband, James Newton Allen (“Newt”), at the Portland school, and they were married in Pratum, OR in May, 1930. The young couple left almost immediately for Denair, California, where other members of the Allen family lived.
Grace had wanted to become a teacher, but since she could not afford to finish college, she was very happy as a “stay-at-home” mother, raising 4 children. During the last part of WWII, they moved to Modesto, where they lived for 18 years. In Modesto, the family was very active in church; Grace was the church pianist and Newt led the congregational singing. All of the children were involved in music to some extent; the two younger boys played in bands at the high school and in city music groups.
With her children all grown and married, Grace embarked on a different occupation. She knew a lot about buying fabric and sewing, so it was a very natural step to start work at the House of Fabrics in Modesto. When her husband’s job with Montgomery Ward was transferred to Sacramento, they moved there and Grace continued her work at the House of Fabrics before being promoted to manager of a new store in Roseville, CA. After 8 years there, they were ready to retire, but their oldest son, Jim, asked them to manage a mobile home park he had bought near Merced, where they moved and were both involved for several years.
They moved back to Turlock finally in retirement, and had a home with enough room for an orchard of almond and fruit trees. By 1995, Newt’s health had failed to the extent that they needed to move to a retirement facility, and they moved into the Covenant Village in Turlock; Grace was destined to spend 17 more years there after the passing of her beloved husband in March 1996. She even learned to use a computer, taught by her grandson, Mike Allen, who patiently and caringly helped her with so many things, even visiting her for lunch weekly the rest of her life.
For the last 11 years, she resided in the Care Center at Covenant Village, finally attaining the distinction, at the age of 103½, of being the oldest person there. The family is especially grateful to the wonderful staff and caregivers there, who were always warm and compassionate. With their smiling faces, they treated “Grandma Grace” as if she was their own grandmother.
Grace has left us peacefully, to be reunited with her husband, Newt, and her many other relatives who have gone before her. She leaves her daughter, Phyllis Skidgel, her son, Jim and his wife Teeny, son Paul and his wife Esther, and son Gib and his wife Linda. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren, Randy Skidgel, Sharon Skidgel, Mike Allen, Kathy Freyschlag, Laurin Beardsley, Steve Allen, Sandi Fraser, Kim Allen-Niesen, Scott Allen, Michelle Martins, Sarah Eaton, and Katie Kajigas, and also 24 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandsons, born just in time for her to excitedly meet them in June, 2013.
A celebration of her life will be held at the Allen Mortuary, 247 N. Broadway, Turlock, CA on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 4 p.m. Donations “in memory of Grace Allen” may be given to Covenant Village, 2125 N. Olive Ave., Turlock, CA 95382.