Martha Ann McDonald Allen: Obituary


Martha Ann McDonald Allen died peacefully in her home on Sunday, July 21, at the age of 86. Martha was one of 6 children born to A. D. and Annie Mae McDonald in Pendergrass, Georgia. She graduated from Jefferson High School and attended (then) Reinhardt College where she earned an Associate’s Degree. From there she continued her education at the University of Georgia where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Arts in Education. She taught elementary school while completing her college and graduate education. She then pursued an 18-year career teaching public high school English in Cleveland, Toccoa, and Cartersville, Georgia, during the 1950s and 60s.

Martha met Hoyt when they were both young teachers in Cleveland. About 15 years after they first met, after Hoyt spent some time in the U.S. Army and Martha had moved on to other school districts, they reconnected and married as Hoyt was beginning seminary at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. They began their life together in June of 1970 in Chamblee, Georgia, where Hoyt was associate pastor at the Chamblee First United Methodist Church. Martha would continue to be Hoyt’s partner in ministry for the next 43 years, serving in churches throughout the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. In a few of those congregations, Martha taught in the preschool, spending a few years as director of the preschool at Commerce First United Methodist Church. She went back to teaching high school English in Madison, Georgia, where she finally retired fully from professional teaching in 1997.

She was always teaching, though. Martha taught her students more than just the plays of Shakespeare or how to diagram a sentence. She taught them how to be good, respectful citizens of the world. She traveled with students and family often. She was a treasured aunt to her nieces and nephews. She had friends whom she had known and with whom she had kept in touch for decades. She taught everyone who knew her the art of self-less love and caring for others.

In retirement, Martha returned to Cleveland with Hoyt where they built the first house they ever owned together. Delighted to have their own home, they shared it for 11 years before moving to Atlanta to be closer to the medical care Hoyt needed for his progressing dementia. Martha cared for him tirelessly as the years passed. As inseparable as they were in their life together, she faced life without him with courage and grace when he died in April of 2018. She continued to live in Decatur where she had many friends, was a member of Oak Grove United Methodist Church, and spent as much time as she could with her family, especially her granddaughter, Joy, of whom she was very proud.

Her daughters, Nancy and Susan, will remember her for making sure that they understood the importance of being well-spoken, being warm and welcoming hosts at all times, using correct grammar, and making one’s home pleasant and inviting for any guests who might show up, whether or not they were announced. Her sons-in-law, Simon and Dave, will remember her going out of her way to make sure they were always comfortable in her home and her family. Her granddaughter, Joy, will remember her Grandmommy for doting on her and showering her with love and attention. Her siblings will remember her kindness and commitment to them. The churches she served with Hoyt will remember her loving presence and helping hands whenever she was needed for any reason, her lovely singing voice, and her love for all of them. Her students will remember her for helping them to understand the importance of always doing your best work. Her friends will remember her for the loving, kind, smart, special person that she was. To have known Martha Allen was to know what it felt like to be cherished. She will be missed by all who knew and loved her.

Martha is preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Harold McDonald, her brother, Lewis McDonald, her sister Jane Caswell, and her husband, The Rev. Hoyt Allen. She is survived by her brother, The Rev. Sanford McDonald, her sister, Ms. Mary McDonald, her daughters, Nancy Allen Dunne (Simon) and Susan Allen Grady (Dave), and her granddaughter, Joy Allen Grady, sisters-in-law Evelyn Jones and Jessie Cannon, and several nieces and nephews.

A funeral will be held Thursday, July 25, at Oak Grove United Methodist Church at 1722 Oak Grove Road, Decatur, Georgia, 30033. A family visitation will precede the service at 10:00 am at the church. The burial will be Thursday afternoon at the cemetery at Loudsville United Methodist Church, 1493 Highway 75-Alternate, Cleveland, GA 30258.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the following:

Reinhardt University
Office of Advancement
7300 Reinhardt Circle
Waleska, GA 30183-2981

Oak Grove United Methodist Church
1722 Oak Grove Rd.
Decatur, GA 30033

To share a memory of Martha or to send a condolence please visit
Barrett Funeral Home, Cleveland. 706.865.3101

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