Jo Ella Allen

February 7, 2014

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Jo Ella “Mama Jo” Allen, died peacefully in her sleep on February 7, 2014 at the home she shared with her daughter, Jan, and son-in-law, Larry Brown. Her passing at this moment was unexpected. Although she had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, she was resolutely preparing to begin radiation treatment and talked happily about a beautiful spring and all the things that would be enjoyed when the world turned warm and green again. She and her daughter decorated and cooked and shopped and wrapped their way through a perfect family Christmas, the jewel of which was the celebration of her 90th birthday on Christmas Eve, 2013. She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald L. Allen in 2002. She cared for him in the home with incredible devotion as he suffered and succumbed to ALS. Shortly before his death they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Her daughter, a precocious eight year old in 1952, and she always referred to October 25th as the day that Daddy married “us”. She is also predeceased by her granddaughter, Karen Strange. She was a talented secretary in civil service for thirty-five years but dismissed her career as unimportant; just what she needed to do. She defined herself as a mother, wife and homemaker. She was a person of unparalleled talents although she was unfailingly modest about her many skills. She was a beautiful seamstress who created first, little girl dresses, and later professional wardrobes for her daughter and she loved counted cross stitch. In her hands she took this hand work to the art level creating old world Santas, samplers and many gifts for the people she loved. She stitched with a small group of friends for many years which she thoroughly enjoyed. She began quilting after her retirement and created gorgeous pieces which demonstrated her talent and love of color and pattern. She was never happier than when she was in her sewing room working on one or multiple projects. She adored cats and had an almost mystic way of communicating with them. She laughed and talked about their antics all the time - her dear Penelope and past loves, Tillie and Samantha. She loved to watch birds and squirrels and fed them faithfully often commenting on what an expensive hobby they were, eating her out of house and home. She had a green thumb and loved gardening. She was as faithful in caring for her flowers as she was creative in the choice of plants, color and texture. Last summer saw her, sunscreen applied, adorable in floppy hat and sundress carefully deadheading and trimming a wide variety of plantings, ever vigilant for the dreaded worm or other pesky problem. She was an accomplished pianist in her younger years. Her husband, Don, planted and maintained large gardens during the many years they lived in Sherman, Texas; she would can cases of foods each year which she was quick to share with others. As a couple, they loved to square dance and made many friends who shared this interest. She was a wonderful cook with specialties too numerous to mention. Suffice to say, she made a bread pudding, peach cobbler or pecan pie that could bring you to your knees! She was a beautiful woman who could rock a hat, set a beautiful table, fix things with a drill and hammer; handling problems with a rare degree of common sense. Her affairs were always in order and she always read the fine print. She was quiet in a group, talkative in private conversations and always interested in others. She had a great sense of humor. She was the mother of an only child who lived her life never knowing anything but unconditional love, support and encouragement. Their family grew and blended but her loving presence was a constant. She also leaves behind her grandson, Alan Strange (Wendy), Shell Knob, MO; granddaughters, Kelli Dean (Darryl), Bryant, AR, Kristi Desjardins (Lee), Tulsa, OK, Kimber Warren (Dan), Wichita, KS; nine great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren. No funeral services were held at her request. A celebration of her life is planned for Mother’s Day. Memorials have been established with Lifeline Animal Placement & Protection, 310 W. 45th N., Wichita, KS 67205 and Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, 701 Amidon, Wichita, KS 67203. Downing & Lahey Mortuary West.
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