Marjorie Sonnenschein Allen crossed the threshold into eternal peace on February 14, 2014 in the company of her devoted family. Marge, as she came to be known, was born November 11, 1929, in Chicago, the daughter of Dr. Ervin L. and Josephine Sonnenschein. She grew up in Chicago but moved west as a teenager, first to Elko, NV and later to Phoenix, AZ. She graduated from Phoenix Union High School and attended Phoenix Junior College before transferring to the University of Arizona where, in 1951, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Secondary Education and Speech. At the University, Marge lived in Pima Hall, a cooperative dormitory where the girls shared the chores, prepared and served meals in a formal dining room and formed lifelong friendships. One of those friendships was with her roommate, Lou Anne Allen Kirby. On a simple blind date, Marge met Lou Anne’s brother Clinton and thus began a lifelong love story. Marge and Clinton were married on March 23, 1951, in Tucson. Early in their married life, they bought a farm in West Plains, which they kept for years and developed into their present-day ranch home.
Marge always supported and encouraged Clint’s lifelong passion for flying. The family moved from Tucson to Mineral Wells, TX, in the 1960s, where Clint became a helicopter pilot and mechanic, in addition to his skill as a fixed-wing pilot. His career later took them to Lafayette, LA and Fort Worth, TX, before they settled in West Plains.
Marge enjoyed the ranch and liked watching the birds flit in and out of the birdhouses on their back fence. She spent hours observing the peaceful view of the pasture behind the house, the ponds, the barns, and their cattle grazing in the distance. She welcomed the excitement of each newborn calf and the drama of the goats vying for top spot on their shelters.
In recent years, her life has centered around her friendships and activities as a member of the Missouri Pilot’s Association (MPA) Chapter 20 and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 1218, both of Willow Springs.
A creative spirit with a wry sense of humor, Marge authored a one-panel comic titled “Buzz Thunderbee.” Writing under the pen name Squawk, an aircraft term related to navigation, Marge’s “Buzz” provided aircraft safety tips and observations in the EAA newsletter for several years. Marge also authored several unpublished short stories, each with a surprising, humorous plot twist. Although she never bragged about her accomplishments, many amazing creations emerged from her sewing room, from the practical to the whimsical, including a doll named Mahidabelle. For a time, Marge worked at Hancock’s Fabrics, a job for which she was eminently well-suited because of her excellent sense of style, color and texture.
Although not a pilot herself, Marge was the “wind beneath Clint’s wings.” On more than one occasion, she played “comic relief” to Clint’s informational presentations at EAA and MPA meetings. When Clint undertook to build a 3/4 scale Curtiss JN-4D 1917-era biplane, Marge did her part to make the project a success, helping to glue and sand hundreds of wing ribs and cooking a delicious meal every Friday for the “crew” helping Clint build the “Jenny” – 41 Fridays in all.
It must be said of Marge Allen that hers was a life well lived.
Marge is survived by Clint Allen, her husband of almost 63 years; her brother, Lyle Sonnenschein of Rapid City, SD; two children, Janis Miller of Corpus Christi, TX, and Larry Allen of Mount Pleasant, TN; two grandchildren, Anne Marie Cleveland (Jeff) and Matthew Allen Jarvis, both of Atlanta, GA, and three great-grandsons. She was preceded in death by her parents and by her brother, John Sonnenschein.
Services will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, West Plains, on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. with Deacon Pat Keefe officiating.
Visitation will be held at Carter Funeral Home Chapel, West Plains on Thursday, February 20, 2014 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society and can be left at the funeral home.