Phyllis Allen

March 26, 1918June 24, 2012

Phyllis Ralph Allen died at her home at the age of 94 on Sunday, June 24, 2012 . A resident of Ann Arbor since 1946, she was born on March 26, 19 18 in Belleville, New York to Dr. Harlow E. and Nellie (Doane) Ralph. She grew up in Belleville, graduating as Valedictorian from Belleville Union Academy in 1934. In 1938 she received a Bachelor of Music Education from Syracuse University, where she was a member of Delta Gamma Sorority, Sigma Alpha Iota, an honorary music sorority and Pi Lambda Theta, an honorary education sorority. After attending Teachers College at Columbia University in 1938 and 1939, she taught public school music in Black River, New York, from 1940 to 1942.

She met Harold F. Allen in the summer of 1939, having been introduced by the son of her Music Professor at Syracuse. Phyllis and Harold shared a lifelong interest in music, attending concerts on a regular basis for many years. They married in Detroit on April 6, 1942. The couple moved to Philadelphia later in 1942, when as a Naval Aviator he was stationed at the Naval Aircraft factory. She worked in the payroll office of Dry Dock Associates at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. In 1944 they moved to Washington, D.C. when Harold was stationed at the Bureau of Aeronautics and Phyllis worked in the payroll office.

After the war, Phyllis moved to Ann Arbor with her husband, who was pursuing a PhD in aeronautical engineering at the University of Michigan. Phyllis enjoyed raising her family and they spent summers at the family cottage in Henderson Harbor, New York. She was active in the Hilltops neighborhood association and was actively involved in many community organizations. She worked with International Neighbors for many years. It was a support group for the families of foreign students at the U of M and she continued to stay in touch with many of the families for the rest of her life. Phyllis had an extraordinary knack of keeping in touch with many people from so many parts of her life who now live all over the world. She also volunteered at the Ann Arbor Cooperative Nursery School, Planned Parenthood, the League of Women Voters, the Ann Arbor Public Library and the U of M Hospital gift shop. She was a 50-year member of both the American Association of University Women and the University of Michigan Faculty Women’s Club.

After her husband retired, they became world travelers. She visited the Soviet Union and several countries in Eastern Europe long before the Berlin wall came down and was an early visitor to China. She also traveled to Japan, New Zealand and Australia, as well as most of Western Europe.

She leaves behind two sons, Michael (Heather) Allen of Brighton, and Douglas (Maye Thompson) Allen and grandchildren Pearl and Emmett of Portland, Oregon, three generations of cousins, nieces and nephews, and many devoted friends. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Gail Allen, in November of 1996 and her husband of 59 years, Harold Allen, in November of 2001.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Gail Allen Scholarship Fund. (U-M Center for the Education of Women, Gail Allen Scholarship Fund, 330 East Liberty St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104.)

At her request, there will be no funeral service. Friends and family are invited to her home in Ann Arbor for a memorial gathering on Wednesday, August 8, between 1PM and 4PM. Burial will take place at Woodside Cemetery in Belleville, New York. Guest book at


Phyllis Allen

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