Karen Allen

PORTLAND — Karen Allen passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning, Sept. 7, 2011, surrounded by family after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Karen was born to Paul E. Gurney and Margaret E. Heath on June 12, 1942. She grew up in the Portland area where she attended Cathedral school and Portland High School.

Karen was the middle child and only girl out of 12 children. Her brothers, William and Robert, passed away at an early age. At the age of two, Karen and her brother Walter were burned in a crash when an Army bomber crashed into what is now known as Red Bank in South Portland. Sixty-four years later, a memorial was built and Karen, her brother and one other survivor are the last ones living. This formed a bond with John Keirstad, whom she considered a brother.

Karen married Frederick L. Allen in October of 1960 and together they had five boys and three girls. She was 28 years old and a mother of five when she lost her mom at that time. Karen quickly became the caretaker for her father and siblings, one who was severely injured by an automobile.

Karen joined the Eagles Auxiliary in February of 1994 and served as president in 1989 and 2005. Karen worked as a waitress at Forest City Diner and at Holiday Inn by the Bay, where she had the opportunity to wait on President Gerald Ford. Karen attended school for keypunch and worked for the credit bureau of Greater Portland. Karen drove for Prop and RTP Transportation and worked for the Windham School Department driving children with special needs to and from school. Karen retired in 2009 and went on to volunteer for the Senior Companion Program.

Karen loved to do plastic canvas and everything she made she gave away to the ones she loved. She was known for her kindness and willingness to do anything for her family and friends. Everybody turned to Karen, whether somebody needed a place to stay or a shoulder to cry on, she was always there to catch you if you were to fall.

Karen is survived by her children, Cindy Rideout of New Gloucester, Kevin Allen of Windham, Christopher Allen of Windham, Colletta Beaulieu of Windham, Gregory Allen of Windham, Todd Allen of Lisbon Falls, Karen Allen and Jackie Allen of Portland; five brothers, Francis (Larry) Gurney of Casco, James Gurney of Phoenix, Ariz., Brian Gurney of Gray, Michael Gurney of Gray and Stephen Gurney of Windham; 16 grandsons, eight granddaughters; two great-grandsons and two great-granddaughters.

Karen was predeceased by her son Joseph Allen, who passed away on Dec. 23, 2005, from cancer; her husband Fred on July 13, 2008; her brothers, John, Richard and Frederick Gurney.

Visiting hours were held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, at Independent Death Care, 660 Brighton Avenue, Portland. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, at 11 a.m., at St. Patrick’s Church, 1342 Congress Street, Portland. Burial followed at Brooklawn Cemetery in Portland.

To offer words of condolence, sign a guest book and share memories, go to the obituary page at www.independentdeathcare.com

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: The Dream Foundation at www.dreamfoundation.com or 1528 Chapala St., Suite 304, Santa Barbara, California 93107.

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