While we may never be able to express in person how much we miss them, we hold a continual conversation in our thoughts with those who have departed – a certain phrase or inflection makes us conscious of their presence still lingering in our lives…
We recognize them in the lyrics of a song they were found of, in the pages of a book they have read, or in remembered expressions of endearment whispered in our ear in a moment of quiet reflection.
Thought death steals our loved ones from us physically, it cannot take the words that remain resonant within our mind, for this language of love will never fade away if we listen with an open heart. – Angela Miller
Lois Anna Allen was born March 31, 1928 in Muskegon, Michigan. She was the oldest of six children. Her father worked for Shaw Walker, an office furniture manufacturer, then Continental Motors, a manufacturer of airplane engines. Her mother had her hands full raising four boys and two girls. To bring in extra money, Lois’ mother baked and sold pies in the neighborhood. Lois’s job was delivering the pies.
At the age of 16, Lois was going to high school and working part time selling shoes in a department store when learned her mother was expecting baby number six. Lois dropped out of high school and went to work full time in the shoe department to help support her family. A number of years later, she went back to school to earn her GED.
Growing up, Lois loved to play baseball with her brothers and other kids in the neighborhood but most of all, she loved to roller skate. She enjoyed all types of roller skating & found a partner that enjoyed it as much as she. The two of them became a skating pair & focused on competitive dance, similar to ice dancing. She loved it so much that she continued on even after sustaining a fractured tail bone in a fall. After she and Clarence married, they taught Lynn and Kathy to skate at a young age.
Lois and Clarence were married December 14, 1946 in Muskegon, Michigan. Lynn was born four years later. Kathy came along five years after Lynn.
In 1960 the family moved to Apopka, Florida. Lois and Clarence bought a house next door to Don and Mary Ann Johnson. Little did they know that the two families would become lifelong friends. This house was the typical 1960’s house with terrazzo floors and no air conditioning except for the window unit in the Florida Room, which was Clarence’s office. On many hot, muggy summer nights, the family would pull their mattresses down the hall to sleep on the floor in the air conditioning then pull their mattresses back to their bedrooms the next morning.
Lois loved to bake. Every Friday when Lynn and Kathy were in elementary school, Lois would bake bread and cinnamon rolls for the weekend. A favorite childhood memory for Lynn and Kathy is arriving home from school and smelling the freshly baked bread and cinnamon rolls while still in the driveway. On Friday afternoon it wasn’t unusual for the family to drive the 14 hours to Paris, Tennessee to visit Clarence’s mom, share bread and cinnamon rolls with Granny, attend church with her and drive back home on Sunday.
Lynn and Kathy had the privilege of having their mom and dad work from home. Lois and Clarence were kids at heart and loved to play. They enjoyed riding bikes, camping, playing games- indoors and out, and swimming in Big Bear Lake at Don and Mary Ann Johnson’s. A fond memory for Lynn and Kathy is having their parents always take time to play with them before bedtime, even when their parents were tired after a long day of work.
In the 1960’s, Lois taught ceramics at Camp Kulaqua for a couple of summers. Lynn and Kathy had lots of fun living at summer camp swimming, riding horses and canoeing. Clarence was traveling for work at that time and would spend the weekends with the family at Camp Kulaqua.
After retirement, Lois and Clarence lived in Leesburg on a canal leading to Lake Harris. Almost every day, Lois fished from their pontoon boat. She didn’t like to eat fish but loved to catch and share them with grateful neighbors.
Lois worked in retail sales most of her work career. In the 1970’s she and her sister in law owned a fabric store on Orange Avenue across the street from Florida Hospital Orlando, now Advent Health Orlando. Each week they taught 20-25 sewing classes and had up to a 2 month waiting list for people wanting to learn to sew on the new polyester fabric. They sold the business in 1976 and Lois went to work for Florida Hospital managing the gift shops for all campuses. She retired 10 years later and she and Clarence traveled the country seeing the sights and visiting family.
The most important things to Lois and Clarence were their love for God and their love for their family.
Lynn and Kathy feel very blessed to have had Lois and Clarence as their parents. From the time the girls were very young, Lois and Clarence included them in decisions that affected the family. An example is the move from Michigan to Florida which took place when Lynn was nine and Kathy was four. Lois and Clarence had many conversations with them about the move and valued their opinion. This inclusion continued throughout their teenage years and covered topics such as dating, driving and other life experiences. This gave Lynn and Kathy a good foundation for decision making, but didn’t’ guarantee they always made good decisions.
Although Alzheimer’s disease stole away much of Lois’ memory, her family knows how much she loved them. One thing that never left was Lois’ sense of humor. For example, when Lynn and Richard began dating in high school, the first time Lois and Clarence met Richard was when he came to their house to pick up Lynn for a date. Lois answered the door, telling Richard that Lynn couldn’t go and she, Lois, would be his date. When Lynn and Richard were finally in the car ready to leave on that date, Lois came running out of the house with a bag saying she had packed them a lunch. Lynn was mortified when she opened the bag and discovered it was filled with dog bones. As recently as last week, if someone asked Lois how she was feeling she would reply without missing a beat “with my fingers”.
Lois loved life and wanted to make it to her 100th birthday. She will get her wish when she celebrates many more birthdays with her beloved Clarence, family and friends in heaven.
Florida National Cemetery