Ruth "Tee" Allen, 1919-2012: Waterville volunteer lived in noted home


Ruth “Tee” Allen, a longtime Waterville resident and a reliable volunteer for community, church, and charity who brought intellect and energy to her endeavors, died Tuesday in Hospice of Dayton.

She was 93.

Mrs. Allen had lung cancer and was in poor health, her son Brad said. She lived most recently with her daughter Ruth in Dayton and before that at Swan Creek Retirement Village in Toledo.

For decades, though, home was the house where Waterville’s founder, John Pray, and his family lived in the 19th century. She, her husband, Frederick “Ted” Allen, and their children moved to the historic house in 1959, more than a century after Mr. Pray built it.

“It was a unique and well-known house, and it was something both my parents were proud to be associated with,” their son said.

She was known as an active part of the the Waterville Historical Society, said Polly Albaugh, a friend and neighbor.

At First Presbyterian Church, Mrs. Allen was clerk of the ruling session, the congregation’s ruling body, and whenever the church had a dinner, she did her part in the kitchen, Mrs. Albaugh said.

Mrs. Allen volunteered for the Interfaith Hospitality Network, and when a family needed emergency shelter, she’d spend the night on a cot in a church basement with them.

In her 70s and 80s, she delivered meals to the homebound.

“She was shuttling the elderly to church, even though she herself was elderly. That’s the kind of person she was,” her son said.

“She showed up,” her son said.

“It was her way of being engaged with people and issues she cared about. My mom was not somebody you would describe as the noisy one who was the center of attention, but she was always one who was involved.”

Indeed, she was dignified, quiet, and agreeable, Mrs. Albaugh said, and “she had definite ideas and spoke up when she needed to.”

Mrs. Allen was recognized more than a decade ago for her long record of service at American Red Cross blood drives and at the blood donor center in Toledo.

In later years, she got involved in civic endeavors and supported a U.S. 24 bypass around Waterville.

“The thing that to my mind was significant to her [was] if you live in a community and are part of a community you have an opportunity and responsibility to participate,” her son said.

She was born March 30, 1919, in Alton, Ill., to Ruth and Griffin Watkins.

She was a graduate of Alton High School and received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Vassar College, located Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

During World War II, she worked at Monsanto in St. Louis, extracting caffeine to make caffeine pills for pilots, her son said.

She and her husband were childhood friends who stayed in touch, although in high school he moved with his family to Toledo.

They married after he returned from military service and moved to Toledo.

She was wife, mother, and homemaker, and volunteered for her children’s schools and scout groups.

“She saw herself as an independent woman who had a lot of interests and a lot of things that were important to her,” her son said.

“For women of that generation having that kind of education — and it was before women’s lib — [volunteering] was what was available to participate and contribute.”

Mrs. Allen and her husband were dedicated to raising money for the American Cancer Society after the death at 24 of their elder son, George.

She was a member of a women’s study group in Waterville, the Profit and Pleasure Club, and painted with a group of artists.

She visited China with her sister Gladys not long after the country was opened to travelers from the United States and went to Europe several times.

She and her husband married June 1, 1946. He died Jan. 8, 1978.

Surviving are daughters, Ruth Daneman and Sarah Allen; son Bradley Allen; five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Services are to be at 11 a.m. today in First Presbyterian Church, Waterville. Arrangements are by the Sanner Funeral Home, West Carrollton, Ohio.

The family suggests tributes to the American Cancer Society or the Waterville Historical Society.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.