Freethought Today · December 2013

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

In Memoriam: Bly Allen, 1920–2013

Freethought Today is very sorry to report the death of longtime FFRF member Bly Marion Allen, 93, Altoona, Wis., on Nov. 1, 2013.

Born in Lindsborg, Kan., on July 12, 1920, Bly was one of nine children born to Eben and Dora (Herman) Johnson. She married Roy Allen in 1957. Roy was a widower with two young children, Michael, 8, and Peggy, 7. They were married 45 years.

Bly earned a B.A. in 1946 from Marymount College in Salina and an M.A. in 1950 from the University of Chicago. She was assistant dean of women and a counselor for 20 years at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Her passion for education continued throughout her life. She was an avid reader, gardener and political activist and loved to write about her memories of growing up on a farm in a Swedish community. She was a member of the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Eau Claire. Her dream of controlling her manner and time of death was realized as she passed away peacefully under hospice care within days of leaving her independent living situation.

Bly will be dearly missed and is survived by her daughter, Sarah (Ted) Welter; stepson, Michael (Christine) Allen; son-in-law, Steve Arnold; three grandchildren, Kate (Dave) Ullman, Charles and John Welter; and two sisters, Wanda Block and Minnie Beck. She was preceded in death by husband, Roy Allen, and daughter, Margaret (Peggy) Allen.

Bly attended many Wisconsin-based FFRF conventions and was an occasional visitor at Freethought Hall over two decades. Anne and Annie Laurie Gaylor and FFRF staffers recall many lovely conversations with Bly, an ardent freethinker and supporter of state/church separation.

A Unitarian Universalist memorial service was held Nov. 10 in Eau Claire.

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