Opal M. Allen
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Mrs. Opal M. Allen was born to Vera L and Willie Bennett May 6, in Limestone County, Texas. Mom never cared for anyone outside of the family to know how old she was, so it is with this acknowledgment that we omit it. We can say, however, Mom made the best use of her dash!
Mrs. Allen came from very humble beginnings, learning very early what it meant to work hard. She was the oldest of 15 children. She had to quit school to help take care of the family but that didn’t stop her from achieving her goals. As Mom grew, she made choices internally that became manifest externally in her adult years. The first important choice Mom made was to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior.
As a young lady, she knew that God called her to be an educator-and she was! She literally dreamed about becoming an educator.
Mrs. Allen moved from home at the age of 18 to live with a special uncle and aunt, Rev. Hoyle S. and Myrtle Smith. She worked cleaning homes. Rev. Smith introduced Opal to Norvell Allen. They were married in June 1957 in Waco, Texas. Two children, Robbin and Alma, were born. While in Waco, Mrs. Allen was faithful in her place of worship, Good Samaritan Baptist Church. She served in following capacities: Sunday School teacher, Outreach, finance committee, mission, and the senior choir, to name a few.
During their marriage, Opal told Norvell she wanted to earn her GED. Daddy always supported Mom in her endeavors. She would work during the day and go to school at night. She obtained her GED. Then Mrs. Allen told her husband she wanted to go to college.
She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in History from Paul Quinn College in Waco, Texas in 1970. In 1971, the family moved to San Angelo, Texas where Mrs. Allen was selected to teach world history at Central High. She was among the first African American teachers at Central and taught faithfully for 26 years.
Mom was further inspired to pursue her Master of Arts in Teaching. She was awarded the master’s degree by Angelo State University in 1982. Mom truly loved history and loved teaching it even more! Alma and I would always see former students come up to Mom and greet her with a wide smile of thanks in helping them enjoy history and be successful in it.
After moving to San Angelo, Norvell and Opal became members of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Big Lake, Texas where the pastor was Opal’s uncle, Rev. Hoyle Smith. Norvell was the assistant pastor as well. The Allen’s would commute from San Angelo to Big Lake to worship for approximately 10 years until Rev. Allen was called to pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Ozona, Texas. Their weekend commute changed from San Angelo to Ozona every Sunday. Mrs. Allen would serve with her husband for 20 years at Mt. Zion. Oftentimes, our mother would prepare lesson plans and grade papers during the commute. Mrs. Allen would serve with her husband during his service as interim pastor at Bethlehem for approximately two years following the passing of Rev. Smith. She remained faithful to God wherever life took her.
Mrs. Allen joined First Baptist Church shortly after she and her husband, Rev. Norvell Allen retired from pastoring. She truly enjoyed worshipping at First Baptist and faithfully participated in Sunday School, Women’s’ Mission and helping with the student lunch program. Our mother was passionate about reaching the lost through witnessing. Her daily prayers always included that God would send individuals to whom she could witness and lead to Him! What a legacy!
Community Service and Writing
Mrs. Allen continued to be active in community organizations and events after moving to San Angelo: She was a charter member of the LeCoterie Society of San Angelo and wrote the lyrics for the Club song; a member of the Ministers’ Wives Alliance of San Angelo, and Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. She also gave of her time at the Pregnancy Help Center of the Concho Valley. After retirement, she served for approximately one year at Cornerstone Christian School. Mom was a writer. She enjoyed reading Bible scriptures, devotionals and later writing her own summaries from them. Whenever a thought occurred to her from something she had read, she would write it down. One could find tablets and or small booklets with notes and thoughts from Mom on them. These are precious treasures.
Singing was one of Mrs. Allen’s favorite things to do, especially in church choirs all her life. Some of her favorite songs are: “Never Alone,” “You Can’t Hurry God,” “If You Just Hold Out ‘til Tomorrow,” and “I Love the Name, Jesus.” Her family grew up hearing these songs many times.
Prayer Warrior, Witness and Legacy
Mrs. Allen went to rest in the arms of the Lord March 17, 2020. She will be remembered for her faithful dedication to God, family, friends, and her love of teaching. She didn’t mind sharing Christ with others. She would often pray for God to lead her to someone to witness and invite them to church. Our mother’s direct communication with God was exemplified by her willingness to take our hands and pray, even on the phone, she would stop during the conversation and say, “Let us pray.” The life she lived is a testimony to what God can and will do for you through faith. Our mother loved the Lord with all her heart, mind, soul, and strength. She taught her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren the same.
Mrs. Allen taught her family not to settle for less, because we belong to God, we deserve the best.
We miss her smile, her hugs, laugh, words of wisdom and her great cooking, to name a few.
Opal is preceded in death by her parents Willie and Vera Bennett; siblings: Mary Bennett, Marilyn Bennett, Frank Earl Bennett, Willie R. Sweat, Doris Penagraph, two additional siblings that died at birth and her husband of 55 years, Reverend Norvell Allen.
She leaves to cherish precious memories, daughters, Robbin and Alma Johnson (Stevie), grandchildren, Jasmine (Jon'Kamren) and Justin; great-grandchildren, Camryn, Madison, and Alexia; brothers Walter Bennett (Gwendolyn); Ralph Bennett (Cherie), sisters Johnnie Sandifer; Betty Bennett; Carolyn Thompson (John); Margaret McGilvery (Ernest), and Katherine Hines (Clevester). Mrs. Allen also leaves numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. There are many friends from Waco, Big Lake, Ozona, Georgetown, Pflugerville and San Angelo who join the family in remembering Mrs. Allen. Her neighbors for over 40 years, will miss her. She will be remembered by former students, faculty, and staff from San Angelo ISD, namely Central High.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in honor to the following organizations she selflessly volunteered and supported; Pregnancy Help Center of the Concho Valley, Concho Valley Regional Food Bank Meals for the Elderly and the Le Coterie Society of San Angelo, Scholarship Program, P.O. Box 5712 San Angelo, Texas 76902. A memorial service will be held in her honor at a later date.