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Merl's Story

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Merl Fair Allen, 89, of College View Court, Morehead, widow of Coach John Sonny Allen, and a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and well-known community leader, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead.

Born Aug. 26, 1927, in Conway, Arkansas, Merl was a daughter of the late Linus Aubrey Fair and Jessie Mae Smith Fair. Her five brothers and sisters are Jean Fair Fieler of Stuart, Ohio, Dale Ross Fair of Babson Park, Florida, and the late Nell Fair Mahaney, Ruth Fair Vaznelis, and Carl Wade Fair.

Merl graduated from Breckinridge Training School in 1944 and earned the Bachelor's Degree in Home Economics from Morehead State University in 1948. She also received a Master's Degree and Rank 1 certification from MSU.

Merl, a popular student and high school cheerleader at Breck, had her first date with John "Sonny" Allen, her future husband, at a formal basketball dance when Merl was in the eighth grade. Sonny and Merl were married July 30, 1950, at the Morehead Methodist Church (the only church with a center aisle). Merl taught high school Home Economics in Falmouth, Flemingsburg, and Morehead (now Rowan County Senior High) for 30 years. She sponsored various student organizations and was the first coach for the girls' high school basketball program in Morehead.

Both Merl and Sonny (legendary baseball and basketball player and coach for whom the John Sonny Field on the campus of MSU is named) were strong supporters of the University. An Alumni Hall of Fame member, Merl served 32 years on the Board of Directors of the MSU Alumni Association, including a two-year term as President. She followed that with 20 years as secretary and member of the Board of Trustees of the MSU Foundation. A volunteer for 50 years at MSU, Merl was the 2003 recipient of the Founders Day Award for University Service. Her father, Linus A. Fair, longtime Registrar and Professor of Mathematics at MSU, received the same award in 1979.

Merl was extremely active in various organizations including Rowan County Retired Teachers, Delta Kappa Gamma, MSU Retirees Association, Morehead State University Woman's Club, Morehead Woman's Club, Career Women Investors, Morehead Red Hatters and four bridge clubs. She also looked forward to visiting with and maintaining special friendships with former co-workers and students.

Merl always found time to enjoy her family whether it was watching her children, grandchildren or great grandchildren play soccer, baseball, softball, football, or basketball, swim or cheerlead; attending school performances and activities; or teaching essential life skills. Other cherished moments in Merl's life were sharing weekly Sunday dinner at her home after church with all the family and hosting the annual Fair Family Reunion.

Sonny and Merl were long-time members of the First Baptist Church in Morehead where they served as deacons. Both had a positive Christian influence upon thousands of young people whom they taught, coached, and mentored.

Merl and Sonny, who passed away May 13, 1999, had four devoted children, Janie Allen Holbrook and husband Harold Edward, Susan Jeanette Allen Chin and husband Terry Jay, Patricia Allen James and husband Craig Gardner, and Dwayne Edward Allen and wife Kimberly Lewis, all of Morehead; 10 beloved grandchildren, Kristina Jane Holbrook Alderman, Harold Edward "Tripp" Holbrook III, Kari Suzanne Holbrook Flanders, John Allen Holbrook, Raymond Dwayne Chin, Jessica Rae Chin Marshall, Terry Jay "T.J." Chin II, Sean Alan James, Kenna Marie Allen, and Dwayne Edward Allen II; and 16 adored great grandchildren, Michael Tyler "Ty" Alderman, Chase Edward Alderman, Audrey Leigh Ann Holbrook, Harold Edward "Drew" Holbrook IV, Gary Allen Holbrook, Alex Clay Holbrook, Allesen Brook Flanders, Tristan Dale Flanders, Jacob Allen Holbrook, Lucas Alexander Holbrook, Alexis Rose Scroggin, Andie Rebekah Chin, Addisen Grace Chin, Jace Brayden Winkleman, Michael Colton, and Dwayne Edward Allen III.

A Celebration of Life service will be conducted 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, at the First Baptist Church with Pastor Curt Lowndes officiating. Burial will follow in Lee Cemetery. Grandchildren will serve as pallbearers and great grandchildren as honorary pallbearers.

Visitation will be 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, at Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals in Morehead.

In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to the Merl Fair Allen Scholarship, MSU Foundation, 150 University Blvd., Box 1887, Morehead, KY 40351 or First Baptist Church Legacy Fund, 123 East Main Street, Morehead, KY 40351.

View or sign guestbook at www.northcuttandson.com
Published on January 12, 2017
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