Albert Edward Allen of Oregon dies at 91

May 16, 2008

The Rev. Albert Edward Allen, who served most recently in Oregon, died on May 1 at his home in Portland. He was 91.

Allen served at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Canyon City, Oregon; St. Mark's Church, Hood River, Oregon; St. Elizabeth's Church, Burien, Washington; and Church of the Ascension, Twin Falls, Idaho. After his retirement, he served in various places and roles in the Diocese of Oregon, and was priest-in-residence at St. Bartholomew's Church, Beaverton, from 1988 until his death.

Albert Allen was born in Woburn, Massachusetts on July 2, 1916. He died of a cardiac arrest at his home in Portland on May 1, 2008.

Bert was raised in Massachusetts until he was ten, when his family moved to the Seattle, Washington, area. He graduated from Lincoln High School in Seattle and attended the University of Washington. He became an Episcopalian while he was a paid soloist at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle during his high school and college years. He worked for J.J. Newberry Company in locations throughout the West Coast. He married Helen Christine Tapken in October 1941.

After a stint in the U.S. Army during World War II, returned to Bend and briefly ran a dairy farm. He then began his studies for Holy Orders, and was ordained a deacon in October of 1950 and a priest in May of 1951.

Allen was the author of On Wooden Wings and Mission Accomplished: The Life of Rueben Denton Nevius. He was finishing a third book, Only on Sundays, at the time of his death.

He at Union Theological Seminary in New York; was one of the early members of the Roanridge organization for rural ministry training; became a trainer of deacons through Notre Dame University for Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches in Idaho. His sabbatical study led him to become a member of the Community of the Cross of Nails at Coventry Cathedral in England. He was made an honorary alumnus of Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 1990.

In addition to his active support of camping programs wherever he served, Allen was a member of the staff at Ascension School (Cove) even before his ordination and Cove remained an important place and community to him throughout his life. He served as a Deputy to the General Convention from both Eastern Oregon and Idaho and was on the General Board of Examining Chaplains, as well as countless other committees, commissions and boards.

He was a leader in the communities in which he lived, serving on school boards, Civil Air Patrol, Search and Rescue organizations as well as local theatre groups. He worked for social justice and was asked to testify at Senate hearings on migrant labor by both the Growers Association and laborers' groups. He received the Citizen of the Year Award in Hood River. He practiced inclusivity before the word was ever used, inviting all into fellowship within his churches. He was active in Boy Scouts and received both the Silver Beaver Award and the St. George Award for his services. He was an avid reader and a great fan of the Seattle Mariners baseball team.

Survivors include his children, Warner Allen (Bonnie), the Rev. Mark Allen (Nancy), the Rev. Mary Allen, Elizabeth Allen (Duane Kilian) and Rosemary Allen Helou, and 11 grandchildren. His wife, Helen, preceded him in death.

A service to celebrate his life will be held at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, 11265 SW Cabot Street, Beaverton, Oregon at 6:30 p.m. on May 28.

In lieu of flowers the family has asked for memorials to Ascension School Camp and Conference Center, P0 Box 278, Cove, OR 97824; or Church Divinity School of the Pacific, 2451 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA 94709-1217.

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