John Hubert Allen -
1910 - 2011
My father was born January 1, 1910 in Paden, Oklahoma, a town referred to in John Steinbeck's book, Grapes of Wrath. Dad's young friends were mostly Choctaw, Sac, and Fox Indians. But when married in 1929 to my mother, Nedra Carpenter, now deceased, he took along his best friend, Claude Titchner an Osage Indian, as witness to the ceremony at the courthouse. Throughout his life, Dad did not show overt hostility to different races or ethnic groups. "We all have to make a living," he often said.
Born in a time and place when hunting and fishing were mandatory for the male image and head of household, Dad had shotguns, rifles, and pistols readily available behind the kitchen's back door as did his father and grandfather before him. While still in Oklahoma, he and Harold Deming, a close cousin, were always ready to take time out for an outing, be it hunting with coon hounds, catching bull frogs, shooting tree squirrels, or fishing in a local creek. Dad continued some of these interests into his senior years in California. He slowed down noticeably at 97 when he ceased driving even though his license matured on his 100th birthday.
For a wedding gift, Dad's father gave him a 40-acre farm with a primitive log cabin in which our family lived. Dad always said living conditions were like those early settlers experienced coming west and settling down--coal oil lanterns, rats in the corn crib, cyclones, mules for plowing. For food, chickens, pigs, milk cows, and a big vegetable garden were raised on the farm. Up a hill and about 100 yards from the cabin was a small still for making "white lightning."
On this farm our young family lived happily until Dad's asthma became so crippling his doctor told him to go west to a dry climate or die during the coming winter. To Dad and Mother, that meant California. The long trip on narrow, winding Highway 66, with many special stops, led to California, but 99 eventually led our family to Visalia in 1936. Before leaving to go west, however, Dad begrudgingly traded two coon hounds for a guitar he didn't know how to play.
He went to Visalia Lumber Co. where for $100 he bought materials to build a house on a $100 lot bought from Ruth Moorsalian and her parents. Both sales were on credit, of course.
To have more income during the late 1930s, Dad bought a barber's comb, scissors, and hand clippers. After reading a manual, he started cutting hair on Saturday afternoons in the back yard, 10 cents for children, 15 cents for adults although paying was not mandatory. Relatives, friends, and neighbors appreciated the cheap service, but not always the haircut they got.
When WW II came, Dad worked as a "chipper" at the Navy shipyard, Mare Island, Vallejo, California. After his stay of only 18 months living in Fairfield and taking the Navy's daily commuter bus to Mare Island, fog and cold weather forced him to return to Visalia.
As a self-taught auto mechanic, he first worked briefly at Mrs. Phil Dobson's Nash Garage on east Main; then until 1975 at Bertram's DeSota, Chrysler, Plymouth Auto Sales on the northwest corner of Main and Bridge. Because Dad had bright red hair, friends, relatives, and garage customers often called him "Red" or "Red Horse," the latter an endearing nickname lasting almost his entire life.
At a youthful 65, Dad retired but continued to be active in real estate investments with his son. At 80, he slowed his daily pace, took daily naps, and enjoyed fishing off a houseboat on Lake Kaweah he and son-in-law Joe Edgar owned. Dad passed away in Visalia on April 15, 2011 at age 101.
He is survived by a daughter, Nova B. Edgar; a son, William R. Allen; granddaughters Kathy Moore and Carolyn Wilson; four great grandchildren Justin Maness, Michele Shuler, Sarah Maness, and Cody Wilson. He was also blessed with seven great, great grandchildren: Evan Maness, Blake Maness, Hayden Broughton, Alissa Bearden, Zackery Shuler, Lane Shuler, and Ashlyn Shuler.
All will miss John Hubert Allen's gentle, quiet, unassuming manner. Miller Memorial Chapel in Visalia will handle the funeral arrangements.
A brief graveside service will be presented at the Visalia Cemetery Pavilion on Thursday, April 21st, 10:00 a.m.
Condolences may be offered at www.millerchapel.com