Marie was born in Coke County, Texas, near the small town of Robert Lee. She attended the Robert Lee schools, except for a few months when the family unsuccessfully tried farming near Portales, New Mexico. Marie’s dad, Calvin Wallace, often worked at two jobs to make ends meet during those Depression years, and the family lived in several rent houses, all small and plain. Marie, the oldest of five children, learned to perform many household tasks and picked up a few tips on how to handle young children. But her mother, Leona, was not hard on her and she found enough time to do school work and to play, often enjoying such games as hopscotch and jacks.
She kept her report cards covering the first several years of school; they show that she was a good student and one who stayed out of trouble. She later mentioned that during her school years she had several friends near her age, most of whom were her cousins who also lived in Robert Lee. Her father was a diligent Christian who saw to it that the family went to church services on Sunday and on Wednesday night, so Marie could hardly remember when she didn’t know about God and Jesus and how to live.
She and her husband, Travis Allen, were married in 1948, almost 65 years ago, and first lived in Andrews, Texas, where he worked for an oil company. As the years went by, Travis’s job took them to Tulsa, Fort Worth and Denver, but she never complained about having to move. She told Travis at the beginning of their marriage that if he would make the living she would be glad to move wherever he had to be to accomplish that, and she was happy in every home they had.
With much poverty around her, Marie learned early the value of sharing, and she was a giver all her life. As their three daughters — Gloria, Margaret and Myra — grew and required less of her time, she began working as a volunteer at a hospital in Arlington, Texas. By the time they moved to Denver, in 1971, she had put in 2,000 hours at that hospital, and it wasn’t long after they arrived in Denver that she began volunteering one day a week at Swedish Hospital, where she wracked up 10,000 or 12,000 hours. In her “spare time,” she took on the added job of spending every Wednesday as a volunteer shopper for Camillia Care Center in Aurora. She did that for 22 years, then was forced by age and health to retire from both places. This did not prevent her from providing gifts and other help for people in need, but she was careful to keep such deeds private, saying the Lord knew and that was enough.
Marie is survived, loved and praised by her husband, her brother Royce, and her daughters and their families:
Gloria Srikijkarn, her husband Rick, their daughters and husbands: Lamai and Jay Hartman and their son; Vanee and Andre Houssney and their three sons.
Margaret Rossow, her husband Bob, their daughters and husbands: Laura and Tim Libby; Sarah and David Watson and their son and daughter.
Myra Sprague, her husband David, their sons Steven, Aaron and Allen, and daughter Juliana Smith, her husband Kyle and daughter.