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December 1, 2014

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For those of you who have read my monthly blog before, you might be surprised by this month’s subject. Joan Allen didn’t serve in the military. As far as I know, she never saved anyone’s life. The only combat she ever experienced was being the mother of three boys who are, to say the least, no shrinking violets. But Joanie was an Everyday Hero to all of us who knew her. She greeted everyone with a smile and addressed life with a positiveness that rubbed off on all those around her.

We lost Joan last month. It was a mere two weeks from diagnosis to her passing. Her body was riddled with cancer and her physical and emotional pain must have been horrendous. She had everything to live for. Her friends loved her. Her sons, daughters-in-law, sister, mother, brother-in-law, nephew, niece, and grandchildren adored her. In the forty years that I knew Joannie, I never heard one disparaging word about her. To the contrary, she was admired, appreciated, and loved. To the end, she dealt with everyone with grace, courage, and affection.

Joan Allen 2Two days before she passed, Joanie talked about the exploits of her sons. I teased her about the way she covered for the boys (hers and mine) when they “crossed the line.” She saw it as her job to mother all the kids in the neighborhood. Our sons still rave about the party grills she made for them. In fact, some of the boys got together at Joannie’s house the week before she died and had a party grill event. Don’t ask me what a party grill is. I’ve never seen one, let alone tasted one. But those “delicacies” brought the kids in the neighborhood to Joannie’s house like dogs after a bone.

Doug Allen, Joannie’s oldest son, spoke these words to the standing-room-only crowd at Joan Allen’s service: “You are an army of many. A strongly knit group who have had the opportunity, honor and pleasure of knowing Joanie for decades.  You have mingled with her at parties, traveled with her to casinos throughout central New Mexico, playing only penny slot machines, spent hours with her at the bridge or mahjong table, and voyaged with her across the globe to exotic places such as Paris, Prague, Hanoi, and of course, Ruidoso.

“She has proven to be a loyal and tireless friend. I am amazed that she was able to maintain and foster meaningful relationships with people she had met in every phase of her life.  She had quality friendships with dear friends who are here today, kindled as early as elementary school, and others that are much newer.  It’s not hard to understand, however, why so many people have been attracted to her throughout her life. People were drawn to her honesty, her sincerity and her genuine care and engaging nature.”

Joan Allen was a great lady who brought happiness to all those she knew, who benefited her community through the force of her personality and her sincere caring for those less fortunate, and who has left a legacy for generations to follow. If you believe there’s a heaven and you knew Joanie, then you know without a doubt that she is in a better place today. And she’s probably organizing a fundraiser for some good cause.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2014 8:15 pm

    People like Joan form are the mortar, holding stones in place for a Wall of Fame.
    Not the Stars, never wanted that, just wanted to join folks and enjoy life the right way.
    It is not until you lose one, that you realize how special they are. Bless them!

  2. December 2, 2014 6:11 am

    What a beautiful tribute, Joe. I read by pre-dawn candlelight and what a meaningful and poignant message to take into the day. Thank you for writing of Joannie’s life and the way she walked through the world. What an honoring of her life and legacy. I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. December 2, 2014 11:06 pm

    This is a lovely tribute to a lady who sounds quite remarkable. You are a class act, Joe!

  4. December 3, 2014 1:32 am

    Beautiful words, Joe, and an unexpected tribute in this context. But I expected no less of you! What an amazing lady she must have been, a great loss to her many friends…

  5. December 11, 2014 11:10 am

    Reblogged this on B. Shaun Smith.

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