Obituary: Keith E. Allen

January 26, 1947 – December 7, 2022

With the same humor and unconditional love he exhibited throughout his rich and well-lived 75 years Keith E. Allen passed away peacefully at his home in Mitchell, surrounded by the women who were blessed to call him a husband and a father.

Keith was born January 26, 1947, in Massena, N.Y., to Roy Joseph Allen and Marjorie Elizabeth (Bough) Allen. He grew up in Massena, where the stories of his antics, exploits, and adventures became family lore. He was well-loved by his sisters, Sheila, Darlene, and Sharon, who were almost ceremoniously and unmercifully teased and pranked by their brother.

He graduated from Massena Central High School in 1966. He was almost immediately drafted into the United States Army, where he proudly served his beloved country from 1966-1968. Throughout those two years, he was stationed in South Korea, Fort Jackson, and Fort Knox. In Fort Knox, he served on Honor Guard duty, escorting his brothers home after they gave the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. Keith proudly displayed the American flag for the next five decades. He was a member of the American Legion Post 250 in Mitchell.

On April 9, 1977, he began writing one of the most beautiful love stories of all time when he married Virginia Kay Arquette. She first caught his eye when she babysat for his sister’s children, but it would be several more years before she would steal his heart. Together, they spent more than 45 years on the greatest of adventures as they traveled, rode motorcycles, hunted together, enjoyed many forms of outdoor recreation, and raised their family. They taught their children the importance of love, hard work, humor, and family values. His children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren knew they were loved every single day because he showed it and said it. His last words were, “I love you.”

He retired after 30 years from GM in Bedford and was a member of UAW Local 440. His career took him from Massena, N.Y., to Southern Indiana. After his retirement, he and Ginger spent 18 years in Auburndale, Florida, before moving back to Indiana to be closer to their children last year. He loved the Florida sunshine and the ability to play golf year-round.

Humor and love are the legacies Keith left behind. No one was given a pass for his jokes, especially not his grandchildren. And you couldn’t help but love him because he loved fiercely. Affection was expected, love was freely given, and even in his final hours, he found the energy to make his family laugh.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Ginger Allen of Mitchell, as well as four daughters: Terri (Pete) Pfister of Garner, N.C.; Daniele Bohlman of Bedford; Tami Herko of Clayton, N.C.; and Krystal (Henry) Shetler of Mitchell. He leaves behind 11 grandchildren: Mitchell Pfister, Kyle Pfister, Bradley Herko, Anitra Bohlman, Colin Bohlman, Jacob Slaten, Lucas Slaten, Alex Slaten, Emery Shetler, Alainah Allen and Mason Allen. He loved his great-grandsons, Gabriel Amezqua and Conner Bohlman. He got to meet Conner for the first time just before he passed. He is survived by the sisters he adored: Sharon Loftis of Malvern, Arkansas, Sheila Rush of Orleans, and Darlene Hunold of Fulton, N.Y., as well as a daughter-in-law, Amy Allen of Brownsburg.

Keith was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers-in-law, a son-in-law, Joey Bohlman, and his beloved and only son, Corey Joseph Allen, who undoubtedly welcomed his father to heaven, making the transition easier.

Cremation was chosen, and a graveside service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, September 22, at Old Union United Methodist Cemetery near Orangeville.

Chastain Funeral Home & Cremation Center has been entrusted with arrangements.

A special thanks goes out to Southern Care Hospice, and its team led by the father of three of his grandsons, Jeremy Slaten. The care exhibited to Keith and his family in his final hours made his transition to the next life peaceful.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to Southern Care Bloomington, 1923 S. Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN, 47403, where the money will be used to provide extraordinary care to patients and their families.