February 10, 1934 - September 6, 2016
Delores (Doe) took the next step in her spiritual journey on Tuesday, September 6, in Dallas. Texas. After a brief battle with aggressive acute myeloid leukemia, she spent her final hours in Season’s Hospice at Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas, surrounded by family and close friends. Her Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 3:00PM at the First Unitarian Church, 4015 Normandy, Dallas, Texas 75205.
Doe was a student, teacher, spiritual guide, mentor, and friend. She passed away at age 82 but she did not look, act, or think like a person in her advanced years. She was an inspiration and role model of honesty and integrity who imposed strict standards on her self and inspired the same in others.
Her 50-year career as a Pediatric Physical Therapist included treating thousands of infants and children. For 15 years she was a clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at Southwestern Medical School, Dallas where she excelled in teaching pediatric neurological assessment to medical students. She completed a course in a new treatment for cerebral palsy at Stanford University and presented a paper advocating a more normal pattern of life for handicapped children. In 1970 she was invited to participate in the White House Conference on Children that led to legislation which insured that children with disabilities would have free and appropriate public education. Because of her commitment and skill, thousands of children lead happier and more productive lives.
In January 2016 she joyfully celebrated 43 years as a Friend of Bill. Sobriety began her spiritual journey that led her to sponsor countless others with the courage to live one day at a time. Her quest to find answers to life’s hardest questions resulted in her being a mentor to many whose issues ranged from co-dependence to a wide range of addictions. She was a student and teacher to herself and others and she was always fully engaged in her own spiritual growth as she guided others on their paths. Doe was a student and friend of Pia Melody whose work in co-dependence was life changing and life giving to herself and all those with whom Doe shared her experience, strength and hope. Her daily practice of meditation kept her centered and open to guidance. We shall never entirely know the legends of people whom she impacted and influenced with her teaching and listening as well as with her wisdom, love and guidance.
Her home is a testimony to her love of art and beauty. Her sense of personal fashion was unmatched and was a joy to herself and others. Looking her best was not an occasional endeavor; it was a commitment. After dinner each evening she even put on fresh lipstick before the TV viewing began, not occasionally, but every evening. With her attention to detail she honored others and herself. Her ragdoll cats thrived on her loving, feeding, and brushing and they returned her love in full measure. Games involving the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks were not just idle past-times for Doe. She was a loyal fan, win or lose. Besides, there was always next year or so we wanted to believe.
Doe’s accomplishments were many but the part of her we will always treasure the most is the love so freely given and received. One friend said, “She was always completely authentic, honest and intimate.” Another said, “We will encounter many souls in our lives but not one person have I ever met had the brilliance and brains to match the tiny beautiful woman whom I call my best friend.” Another expressed the high compliment that, “Her home was a safe place for all to explore.”
Doe had multiple families: her biological family, her family of friends and the family formed with the person she called “the love of my life,” Lu Gaston who was her partner for 23 years. She and Lu formally married on Dec. 6, 2015 at the First Unitarian Church, Dallas, a church that welcomed them in word and deed. The loving support of the ministers, staff and congregation helped Lu and Doe find the courage to be themselves, a gift of highest value. Words cannot begin to describe the relationship that Lu and Doe forged in their 23 years together. They lived and loved with both eyes fully open to the heart and soul of each other. They learned to “stir the oatmeal” together so that the common, ordinary events and activities added a strand to the extraordinary love that bound them.
One of Doe’s family of friends consisted of a very special group who gave unqualified support with their continual presence for the four days between cancer diagnosis and her final breath on September 6. Beyond that group is a treasure of an extended family of friends who know and love Doe simply because they had the good fortune to meet her.
Doe was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel O. Allen and Golda Allen. She is survived by her spouse, Lu Gaston and step daughter, Donna Gaston. She is also survived by her brother and his wife, Samuel and Steffani Allen and Doe’s sister and husband, Debbie and Jim Baker. Nephew Jason Allen and niece Cary Jo Hans as well as 6 great nephews and nieces mourn the loss of their “Aunt Doe.”
Those of us who remain are acutely aware that we have been greatly blessed by sharing the road with Doe Allen. Yet even in this loss, her own words give us comfort. She left us this written request: “I can only hope that you will hold me in your memory and continue living your life to the fullest with intention, purpose and awareness of this precious time with one another.”
To which we reply, ”Rest well, dear Doe; ” You remain alive in us for always and we will honor your advice. We can do no less.”
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to First Unitarian Church or the charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of: ARIA Cremation Service & Funeral Home 10116 E. NW Highway Dallas, Texas 75238 214.340.8008