Kathryn graduated from Tyler High School in 1934 and earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from The University of Texas in 1938. She married George Bolten Allen in August 1939, and the devoted couple enjoyed 54 years together until his passing in 1993. Kathryn was a school teacher and clinical assistant, helping support the family as George completed his Army service during World War II, medical school, his internship and residency. They returned to Tyler in 1947, where George entered into private practice.
Kathryn was a 64-year cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and undergoing treatment in 1948. Despite many medical setbacks, including scarlet fever as a child and breast cancer later in her life, she never complained or slowed down, and always kept a positive attitude. Kathryn continued to serve others by joining the Smith County Medical Society Auxiliary (now the Medical Alliance) and was instrumental in founding its annual book fair, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for health career scholarships. She was the first recipient of the Medical Alliance’s Heart of Gold Award, recognizing her outstanding community service.
Over the years Kathryn volunteered with numerous other worthy organizations, including The Salvation Army, People Attempting to Help (PATH), Goodwill Industries, Meals on Wheels, United Methodist Women and the Junior League of Tyler. She received the Junior League’s Gertrude Buckley Windsor Sustainer Award, recognizing her continued service in an outstanding capacity to the community. Kathryn was a valued congregant of Marvin United Methodist Church, where she worshipped for more than 80 years and cherished being a member of the Century Class.
Kathryn’s life was all about giving back to the community and helping others. Into her nineties, she continued to take the time to visit others less fortunate than her and in need of companionship or spiritual guidance. She genuinely cared about people and what was going on in their lives. When you met her for the first time, she would put you at ease by trying to find out all she could about you, your family and what was important in your life.
Kathryn truly lived her life by John Wesley’s Rules – do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can. She always believed that each thing you do, no matter how small it may seem, makes a difference to someone.
Mama was the heart, soul, backbone and conscience of the Allen family. She taught her family many life lessons, but most importantly how to live with grace and humility, and die with dignity and courage.
She is survived by her daughter, Kathryn (Kay) Allen Nelson of Fort Worth; her son, George B. (Bo) Allen and his wife Carolyn of Austin; four grandchildren, Kathryn E. Nelson of Houston, Michael L. Nelson Jr. and his wife Amanda of Dallas, Sean O. Allen and his wife Jamie of Raleigh, N.C., and Khala C. Hart and her husband Chad of Fort Worth; as well as four great-grandchildren, Jourdan Hart, Caleb Hart, Avery Allen and Hannah Allen. She is also survived by her brother, William M. Bailey of Slidell, La. She leaves behind nieces, nephews, other relatives and countless friends who will miss her charming smile, engaging personality, sense of fun and impeccable memory.
She was predeceased by her sister, Ruth Bailey Peters of Tyler.
Visitation with the family will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, at Lloyd James Funeral Home. Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, at Rose Hill Cemetery in Tyler, followed by a memorial service that begins at 2 p.m. at Marvin United Methodist Church. A reception will follow in fellowship hall of the church. In lieu of flowers, Kathryn has requested that donations be made to Marvin United Methodist Church; The Hospice of East Texas Foundation; People Attempting to Help (PATH); or the charity of one’s choice.