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FREEPORT — Berla Avis Allen, 90, of Freeport, died April 23, surrounded by her loving family.
She was born Sept. 6, 1922, in Calais, to John Patrick and Berla Avis O’Neill. She was an independent woman who was proud of her Scottish and Irish heritages. Her father died when she was 11, and her mother took over his job as school janitor to support her eight children. In the Great Depression, Allen went to work to help provide for her younger siblings. She washed dishes at Gem Restaurant, and clerked at Woolworths and J.J. Newberry. In 1939, she graduated from Calais Academy, managed the Mary Jane Restaurant and met her future husband, Kenneth “Diddy” Allen.
They were married at his church, the Milltown Baptist Church, on March 5, 1941. Their daughter, Jacqueline, was born the next June. The U.S. Navy sent Diddy Allen to the South Pacific during World War II and Berla Allen stayed in Calais their daughter until the war ended. After the war, jobs were hard to find in Calais, so the family moved to Freeport, where Berla Allen’s sister was living. Allen worked as a waitress, and their daughter, Kim, was born in 1957. The Allens became active in the community and considered Freeport as their new hometown. Both girls graduated from Freeport High School.
Allen and her husband were inseparable. He played town team baseball and had a band. She attended all his games and the dances where she loved to hear him play guitar and sing. She was an avid Red Sox fan and also cheered for the Celtics. She knew the players and was anxious to tell you whether they were any good or not. She enjoyed Sunday afternoon dinners with her grandchildren. She and her husband spent several winters in Florida after they retired. Once active in Eastern Star, in later years, she attended church services at Congregational churches in Durham and North Yarmouth.
She was predeceased by her all her siblings and in 2005 by her husband.
Allen is survived by her daughters, Jacqueline Brown, of Pownal, and Kim Merrill, and her husband, Lincoln, of North Yarmouth; her grandchildren, Eric Brown, and his wife, Melanie, of South Carolina, Kevin Brown, of Pownal, Erinn Tardiff, and her husband, Heath, of North Yarmouth, Tara Merrill, and her fiance, Dustin Goodell, of Yarmouth, and Chelsey Merrill, of North Yarmouth. She is also survived by six great-grandchildren, Cameron, Morgan, Taylor, and Tyson Brown, Haley Brown, and her fiancee, Eric Christie, and Allyson Tardiff.
A funeral service will be held 1 p.m. Saturday at the First Parish Congregational Church, 422 Hallowell Road in Pownal. A reception will follow in the church hall. Burial will be in the Burr Cemetery in Freeport at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Allen’s memory to First Parish Congregational Church, 422 Hallowell Road, Pownal, ME 04069.