ALLEN, James G., Sr., 68, a resident of Montgomery, Alabama, passed away Tuesday, December 28, 2010, at his home. Funeral services will be held Friday, December 31, 2010, at 11 a.m. at Alabama Heritage Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Patrick Riley officiating. Interment will follow in Alabama Heritage Cemetery with full military honors. Visitation will be held Thursday, December 30, 2010, from 5-7 p.m. at Alabama Heritage Funeral Home. He is survived by his wife, Sharon Rodgers Allen; one daughter, Pamela Allen Williamson (Paul); two sons, James G. Allen, Jr. and Jason G. Allen; three sisters, Margo Holmgren (John), Judy McClanahan, and Martha Sue Scott (James). Mr. Allen was preceded in death by a sister, Helen Bolen. He had retired from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Postal Service and was active with the Montgomery Laryngectomy Association. Condolences may be expressed at www.alabamaheritagefh.com. Alabama Heritage Directing.
James G. Allen was a good and honest man that was liked and well respected by all who knew him. He was very generous and treated others with respect. He was a peacemaker that didn't tolerate negative talk about other people. He was a wise and gentle soul who was loved by children and animals. He was known to most as Jim, but as Jimmy to his sisters and Uncle Jim to several nieces and nephews.
His parents were Hoyt Allen and Maxine Holley, Jim was born at home in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was raised by his mother and unfortunately didn't get to know his father until he became a young adult. Jim grew up very poor living in the projects of Memphis, Tennessee until his pre-teen years when his mother moved the family to Columbus, Montana in 1953 when she married a farmer. Jim was very close to his family. His two older sisters Helen and Margo and two younger sisters Judy and Martha Sue (Tiny) really loved and spoiled their only brother.
Jim loved Montana and considered it his home and himself a cowboy. As a teenager, he worked hard on his step-father's farm and brother-in-law's ranch and loved to look up at those glorious snow-capped mountains. He fondly recounted stories of walking or riding horseback miles through the snow to get to school and was proud of his attendance saying he only missed two days of school and that was because the horse got stuck in the snow. He played one year of high school football as a freshman at Columbus High School, but stopped playing to help out more on the farm after his step-father's death.
Despite dropping out of high school after the 11th grade to go into the military during Vietnam, education was important to Jim. After retiring from the military he attended college on the GI Bill and earned a B.S. Degree in Criminal Justice and Public Safety from Auburn University at Montgomery. A few months before his death, he was very proud to receive an honorary high school diploma for Vietnam Veterans from the State of Montana. He always emphasized the importance of staying in school to his children and worked hard to provide a better life for his family.
While stationed at Gunter AFB in Montgomery, Alabama, Jim met Sharon Ann Rodgers who was a high school senior and dependent daughter living on base. They went to dances together and Jim patched up her leg after she fell at the base pool. Jim was shy and had a stuttering problem back them, but was persistent and won her affection. They were married on August 14, 1965 at Sharon's mother's house on Marquette Drive in Montgomery, Alabama. They were married for over 45 years was blessed with three loving children, one daughter, Pam and two sons, James Jr. and Jason.
Jim was a strong parent who taught his children good values and set a wonderful example for them. Jim was firm but fair in the discipline of his children always listening to them. He enjoyed spending time with his children and always attended their sporting events including traveling long distances for his son's BMX races. Jim enjoyed spending time with his family playing cards and board games. He obtained his private pilot's license and enjoyed flying single-engine airplanes for several years and liked to take his family along on flights to share his love of flying. He loved music and liked to sing and dance to oldies Rock-N-Roll giving his children an appreciation for the music he grew up with. He was always up for entering a twist dance contest and even won a few of them.
Jim was a very logical and practical person with a lot of common sense. He was very good with numbers. He had a good work ethic and always taught his children the importance of working hard, punctuality, and financial responsibility. He was always planning for the future and retirement, making investments in rental real estate as a young man that helped improve his family's standard of living. His later sold several houses to his long-term renters, one of whom told Sharon that "Jim sold him a house when no one else would". In retirement, Jim enjoyed investing in the stock market and enjoyed sharing this hobby with his son James Jr.
Jim was an Air Force veteran and retired in 1985 at the rank of Master Sergeant after 22 years. He spent most of his career as a Security Policeman. He also volunteered to be one of the first U.S. Sky Marshalls during the hijacking crisis in the early 1970's. He traveled quite a bit during his military career. Stateside assignments included Alabama, Mississippi, New Hampshire, California and Florida. Overseas assignments included the Philippines, Vietnam, Panama Canal Zone, Korea and flying all over the world as a sky marshal. Jim served two tours during the Vietnam War. He successfully completed the FBI's Hostage Negotiation training and the Green Beret's SWAT training programs. After retiring from the military, he brought his family back to Montgomery Alabama where Sharon's family lived and where he owned rental property. He then obtained his college degree and went to work for the Post Office.
Jim retired a second time in 2003 after 17 years as a Postal Clerk with the U.S. Post Office. Sharon retired early to be with Jim and they enjoyed spending time together since they had been on different shifts most of their married life. In retirement Jim and Sharon enjoyed traveling and took several cruises together. Jim's retirement wardrobe included mostly colorful Hawaiian shirts, so he always looked ready to cruise. Jim loved his dog Smokey, a schnauzer mix that he and Sharon rescued from the animal shelter three years before Jim's death. Smokey never ran out of energy and loved to play Frisbee and tug-of-war with Jim. He brought lots of joy to Jim in his retirement.
For the last decade of his life, Jim was an active member of the Montgomery Laryngectomee Association after surviving throat cancer in 1999 and losing his voice box. He helped new patients realize they could speak again and also helped speech pathology students learn to work with laryngectomees. Jim even learned to sing again and wrote a song about Sky Marshalls to the tune of "Ballad of the Green Berets" and recorded himself singing it to inspire other laryngectomees and pay tribute to the current sky marshals after September 11, 2001.
Jim was a friendly man and made several friends over the years. However, moving around so much, he lost touch with most of them. Jim's best friends included Hoyt Green and Ken Johnson. He formed a special bond with people from the Laryngectomee Support Group including the Morgans, the Meeks and the Yorks.
James G. Allen passed away on December 28, 2010 at home after a fighting a brave battle against lung cancer. He is survived by his wife Sharon, his children Pam, James Jr. and Jason, and his sisters Margo, Judy and Martha Sue. Services were held at Alabama Heritage Funeral Home. Jim was laid to rest in Alabama Heritage Cemetery with full military honors. His friends Patrick Riley and John Morgan preached the service and his children Pam and Jason spoke about their favorite memories of their dad.
Commitment is a key word that can be used to describe the life of James G. Allen. He was committed to living the life of a good man who was both practical and trustworthy. He was committed to the traditional values that he upheld his entire life. He committed himself to being a hard worker who provided a better life for himself and his family. Most of all, he was committed to those he knew and loved.