Lamar Allen will be sworn in soon for another term as chairman of the Effingham County Board of Education, the position his father George held for eight of his 28 years on the Effingham school board.
However, Lamar Allen says he and his siblings never felt any pressure to follow in their father’s footsteps.
“He didn’t push us to do community work. He lived more by example,” Allen said Monday. “That’s what drives us to do some of what we do.”
George Allen, 90, died at his home Saturday night after spending six weeks in the hospital. He passed away about four hours after his family brought him home, according to his elder son.
“I guess he knew he was home and felt he could go on,” Lamar Allen said. “He’s far better off. He went through some tough times the last few weeks.”
George Allen’s public service began at just 22 years of age, when he was appointed to the Effingham County Board of Education. Lamar Allen noted that was “very unusual” for a 22-year-old in the 1940s, when community leadership positions were typically held by older men.
Allen recalled his father serving on the board of education through all of his school years. However, he added, George Allen never let school board business distract from his time with his family.
“He never brought it home, never talked about it,” Lamar Allen said. “He just did his job and went home. That’s something I try to do.”
For George Allen, though, “doing his job” extended far beyond serving on the board of education for 28 years. He was a successful businessman, as a self-employed timber dealer and a farmer from 1942 until his retirement in 1993.
He was appointed to the Citizens and Southern Bank board in 1973 and served 21 years before retiring in 1994 from the Nations Bank Board of Directors. He also served as a supervisor on the board of the Ogeechee River Soil and Water Conservation District for more than 20 years.
Along with his service on the school board, Allen was an Effingham County commissioner for 16 years, including 10 as chairman. He received numerous awards for his commitment to the community including, in 1997, the John Adam Treutlen Award for service to Effingham County.
“It means a lot to us as a family to know he did so much for the community,” Lamar Allen said.
Allen was a life-long member of Laurel Hill Lutheran Church in Clyo, where his funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. today, serving numerous years on the church council and other committees. Contributions in Allen’s memory may be made to the Laurel Hill Lutheran Church building fund.
Even with all his accolades, those who knew George Allen best say nothing meant more to him than his family.
Lamar, Tommy and Betty were the three children he had with his wife of 69 years, Juanita. Allen turned 90 during his recent hospitalization, and he would have celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary with Juanita on Wednesday, Lamar Allen said.
“We were really hoping he could make it to that,” Lamar Allen said. “He made his 90th birthday, but didn’t make the anniversary.”
Affectionately called “Papa George” by his five grandchildren, George Allen also doted on his 13 great-grandchildren.
“He lived a good life,” Lamar Allen said. “You can’t ask for much more than what he had out of life.”