Beloved retired Ovid physician, Willis D. Allen, passed away August 9, 2018 at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca following a brief illness. He was 96 years old.
A celebration of his life will be held at the Ovid Federated Church at Noon on Sunday (September 2, 2018).
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Ovid Federated Church, PO Box 340, Ovid, NY 14521 or the Willis D. Allen Scholarship Fund at South Seneca Central School. 7263 South Main Street, Ovid, NY 14521
Willis was born on August 17, 1921 in Geneva, N.Y. to Charles Ogden Allen and Edna Fridley. He attended grade school at Fayette District School #14 in MacDougall and high school in Geneva, graduating in 1940. As the first generation of his family to attend college, he graduated from Hobart College with a BA in 1943. Willis enlisted in the US Army as a Private while attending Medical School at the University of Buffalo, graduating in 1946. Dr. Allen did his residency at Jersey City Medical Center from 1946-1947 and then entered active service at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. After serving at Muroc Air Force Base in California, Dr. Allen was assigned to Landsberg Air Force Base in Germany in 1948 with the rank of Captain. While at Landsberg AFB he met his future wife, Vivian Hildegarde Norton, who managed the service club on the base.
Dr. Allen returned to the US and was assigned to Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, N.Y. in 1949. He was released from active duty in December 1951 with the rank of Major. He then established his medical practice in Ovid, N.Y. Willis and Vivian were married in Framingham, Mass. in December 1952. They raised four children in Ovid.
Dr. Allen called himself a country doctor and had a practice now considered obsolete. He cared for patients from cradle to grave, performed house calls to the bed-ridden, and delivered a generation of babies for the communities he served. He had morning, afternoon, and evening office hours and often did not have the luxury of shared call with another physician. He offered compassionate care to those with physical ailments and comfort to those who suffered from the resulting emotional burdens. It was a responsibility that gave him much joy and purpose. In Ovid, he was active in the Lions Club and the Ovid Federated Church, singing in the choir and later serving as church organist. He had memorable roles in community play productions, such as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” and Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.” He was also famous for his homemade fudge.
Dr. Allen retired from his practice in 1990 and moved, with Vivian, to an assisted living facility, Kendal at Ithaca, in 2001 where he resided until his death. While at Kendal, he continued to give of himself to others. He participated in an innovative program where residents traveled to a local Minimum Security Prison to teach inmates gardening. He took great pride that a number of them went on to careers in horticulture upon their release. He was a former president of the Kendal Resident Association, and parlayed his piano chops into weekly Sing A Longs and providing music for religious services. He also volunteered with the One Kendal Committee to deliver mail, visit residents, and read to those with poor vision.
Among his passions were theater, especially Shakespeare, classical music, travel, gardening, birds, family, and life long friendships. He will be remembered for his kindness, exuberant personality, and wonderful sense of humor.
He is survived by his son, Peter, in Reynoldsville, N.Y.; daughter, Lisa, in Pompano Beach, Fla.; and Heather (Bruce) Johnson in Salem, Ore.; along with two nieces and their families; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Dr. Allen was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Vivian; both of his brothers Ogden and Rynear; his sister, Arlene; and his eldest son, Kim.