Col. Gary Lee Allen, US Army (Retired), passed away September 15, 2013, in Oberlin, Kansas, at the age of 77. He was the son of Fred G. Allen and Elodie E. Morrissette and was born July 23, 1936, five miles east of Oberlin, Kansas.
Gary attended rural School District #47 for seven years, one year at Oberlin Elementary School, and graduated from Decatur Community High School in 1954. He drove a school bus during his senior year of high school.
Gary and Carolyn Chambers met during their second year in high school. They were married on July 23, 1955, in Wichita, Kansas. Gary joined the Army National Guard on December 23, 1953, in McCook, Nebraska, while a senior in high school. In 1958 he became a full-time Army National Guardsman and remained in the military for the remainder of his Army career. Gary retired in 1991, serving for over 37 years.
During his military career, Gary served as an Infantry Private through First Sergeant, graduated from Infantry Officers Candidate School and retired as a full Colonel. He served at eight U.S. Army posts and Aberdeen Proving Ground, in addition to Germany and Panama.
Gary commanded an infantry platoon, cavalry troop, ordinance battalion, combat support battalion and several senior staff positions. In 1969 he commanded an infantry platoon in the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, 196th Infantry Brigade and 23rd Infantry (Americal) Division, Vietnam. During his service, he earned numerous medals, awards, decorations and citations.
Gary was a past member of American Legion Post #1 in Topeka, #2 in Newton, and #70 in Oberlin, where he served as Commander for three years and was a life member. He was also a life member of the Veteran's of Foreign Wars, Purple Heart Society, National Guard Association, 23rd Infantry Division Association, 196th Brigade Association, and 35th Infantry Division Association.
After his retirement, Gary and Carolyn enjoyed their small acreage near Topeka and traveled several years on a motorcycle with sidecar, later in their truck and fifth wheel RV. They moved from Topeka to Wichita then to Oberlin, in 2000. They continued to travel in a motor coach during the summer and went to Texas and Arizona for several winters. His hobbies consisted of collecting old war memorabilia and restoring historic military vehicles.
Survivors include his wife, Carolyn, of Oberlin and daughter, Janell Allen, of Columbus, Ohio.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Wendell Allen; and son, Martin Allen.
Funeral Service: Friday, September 20th at 10:00 a.m. at the funeral home in Oberlin with Mr. Jim Plotts officiating
Burial: Oberlin Cemetery with military rites
Memorial Funds: Hospice Services, Inc., American Cancer Society and www.woundedwarriorproject.org
Visitation: Thursday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. until service time