Mary Grace Longenecker ALLEN, 88, of Little Rock, AR died Wednesday, February 1, 2012, after a four week long illness, which took her away from the very active life she still led.
Mary Grace, or "Gracie" as she was called in her youth, was the only child of doting parents, Walter Gingrich Longenecker and Martha Bachman Newgard Longenecker; and granddaughter of Harry Gingrich Longenecker & Sally Gingrich Longenecker on her paternal side; and granddaughter of Amos Gantz Newgard & Ida Amelia Bachman Newgard on her maternal side.
She was born and raised in Annville, Pennsylvania, a small farming town between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, PA, in Lebanon County, where her father was a farmer and cattle dealer. She was very proud of her Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonite pioneer roots, which went back to the time of William Penn's charters, and she loved her small idyllic hometown. Many of the town's activities centered around the local music college, Lebanon Valley College, which from a very early age, nurtured her love of classical music and playing the piano.
She graduated from Penn State University with majors in English and PE and was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. It was during this time that she met her husband of 54 years, Henry Augustus Allen, from Texarkana, who had come east to attend the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School in Philadelphia, and later, Harvard Business School.
After her husband returned from World War II, they moved to the New York City area for 10 years, and then returned to Little Rock in 1957.
She was an avid tennis player until the age of 73, loved to read, play Bridge, and travel. After her children went off to school, she and her husband, for several decades, enjoyed numerous trips abroad with close friends.
She was a member of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church since 1957 and a member of the Country Club of Little Rock for 40 plus years.
Her extraordinarily gentle, kind and loving nature will be sorely missed by her children, son Henry "Gus" Allen and wife Susan, daughter Gail Elizabeth Allen, and grandchildren Jack Walls Allen and Jamie Lee Allen, all residents of Little Rock, AR.
Special thanks to Dr. Jim Morse and Dr. John Jones whose expert care through 3 very precarious surgeries in the 1990s allowed her family to be blessed with her sweet and adoring presence an additional 14 more years and to Dr. Paul Zelnick for his compassionate care at the end.
Family services were private. Many thanks to all those who called expressing their love and support at this most difficult time. It was greatly appreciated.