Mary L. Van Allen
December 7, 1929 – July 24, 2021
Mary Louise Van Allen, 91, who died in Indianapolis on July 24, 2021, spent most of her career as an obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) nursing clinician and teacher. She was born on December 7, 1929, in Brookville, Indiana, the daughter of Lester N. and Katherine E. Abel. As her father was a Methodist minister, she moved frequently as a child, living in several southern Indiana communities. In 1948, she was class valedictorian at Sullivan High School, in Sullivan County, Indiana. She attended Franklin College (1948-1950), where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority. She then enrolled in the Methodist Hospital School of Nursing. For leadership and scholastic achievement, she was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau international honorary society of nursing. Following her graduation in 1953, she was instrumental in establishing the first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Methodist Hospital between 1954 and 1956.
Mary married Arthur R. “Art” Van Allen in 1957. She taught briefly in the Methodist Hospital School of Nursing diploma program and then earned a bachelor of science in nursing from the Indiana University School of Nursing (IUSON) in 1959. She took a break from her career when her two children were very young. In 1969, she became a school nurse at Arlington High School, in the Indianapolis Public Schools. She then pursued a master’s of science in nursing from IUSON, specializing in maternity nursing and education. She joined the IUSON faculty in January 1975 and taught maternity nursing in the school’s baccalaureate program for the next 20 years, retiring in December 1994 as an emerita assistant professor.
Mary also had a lovely soprano singing voice. While at Franklin, she often served as a soloist with the college’s choir, and she also often sang at various occasions that Methodist Hospital sponsored during her tenure there. She was a member of the chancel choirs of Broad Ripple United Methodist Church and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. She sang in St. Luke’s choir until she was 90.
Following her retirement, Mary enjoyed spending more time with her children and grandchildren. She and her husband Art also traveled extensively through Europe and the U.S. She was an avid gardener, enjoyed knitting, and served 3 years as president of the Pennwood Court Homeowner’s Association, where she was a resident for over 15 years.
Her husband, Art (2011); sister, Vera Holmes (2015); and brother, Bill Abel (2017) predeceased her. She is survived by son and daughter-in-law Mark and Jeannie Van Allen; daughter, Elizabeth Van Allen; grandchildren Clara (Jake) Rosato, Ross (Emily) Van Allen, August Van Allen, Mary Grace Van Allen, and Van Robbins; great-grandson Macklin Van Allen; brother Russell Abel; sister-in-law Nancy Martin; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 West 86th Street, Indianapolis, Saturday, September 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., preceding the service at the church at 11:00 a.m. The service can be viewed online at: https://www.stlukesumc.com/live Burial will follow at Crown Hill Cemetery.
9:00 am - 11:00 am
St. Luke's United Methodist Church
St. Luke's United Methodist ChurchBurial to follow at Crown Hill Cemetery
Mary L. Van Allen
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Kate Abel Plummer
September 18, 2021
Beth and Mark, the service for your Mom was beautiful and uplifting.
I will continue to grieve but as Mark shared I will not mourn her death.
She is part of my first memories at age 3 when she and Grandma and Aunt Vera were in the car accident. She told me Uncle Art visited her in the hospital. The following months she recovered from her injuries and had a beautiful wedding at West Michigan Street UMC. At 4, cousin Dave and I were the ring bearer and flower girl. So many memories of family gatherings through the years. Then as trips to Indiana from Virginia became fewer the phone calls just to catch up on everyone were always filled with laughter and news.
I will feel forever blessed that I was able to visit with her in June just weeks before her death. She always gave me such support, joy, and reassurance.
Niece Kate Abel Plummer