Cover photo for David Lawrence Allen's Obituary

David Lawrence Allen

October 19, 1932 — May 20, 2024

Penney Farms

David Lawrence Allen

 David Lawrence Allen was born on October 19th, 1932 in Henderson, Kentucky. He was the baby of a loving family made up of his mother, Margra, his father, Natie, and 4 older siblings; two brothers and two sisters. He grew up as a prankster, and always thought that he wanted to be a journalist, but during college he felt God’s very real and present call into the ministry. So after he graduated from Murray State, he attended Candler Seminary (at Emory University). It was there that one of his greatest adventures occurred when he met a lifelong friend (now retired Bishop Richard Looney) and they spent a year taking some of their seminary classes in Edinburgh, Scotland. To the day he died, some of his favorite memories were of their times bicycling around Europe and discovering what a wide and diverse world we live in!   

After he was ordained, Rev. Allen served in his home church of First United Methodist, Henderson and married the woman that had captured his heart while taking classes at Candler, Frances Carnes from Eatonton, Georgia. Together, they once again heard God’s very personal and distinct call – this time to be sent as missionaries to what was then known as the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo; DRC). So, in their late 20’s, they left the lives that they knew and trusted God to lead them on what would end up being a faithful 13-year ministry in Africa. Our father’s legacy in the Congo includes a pastor training school which helped people from remote villages to access the theological education that they would need to start village churches.  One of his memories was from a UMC General Conference in Baltimore, years after he and his family had returned to the United States. At that conference, he heard someone calling him, “Reverend Allen, Reverend Allen” and he turned to see a confident, well-educated delegate to the U.S.-based conference walking towards him. That man had been his former student at that Congolese training school that Dad had built and written curriculum for years earlier.  He was there as a delegate from Congo. Dad’s work is still having an impact today.  

Along the way, David and Frances had 3 children; Nancy, Stuart and Carolyn and eventually welcomed into the family their spouses; Hal, Lorri and John. Of course, his greatest joy was the time that he got to spend with his grandchildren, Michelle, Jennifer, Allen and Ontario. He didn’t always express his feelings well, but he loved his grandchildren deeply and could not have been prouder of them!  Dad was always one of the smartest people in the room. He was also humble and tirelessly willing to work to “look for the interests of others”. Through his grandchildren, his faith and his example will continue to affect generations into the future.  

After returning to the United States, Dad continued to work for the United Methodist Church where he worked with Urban Ministries in Louisville, Kentucky and then spent 11 years serving the Red Bird Missionary Conference in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, first as Executive Director of Henderson Settlement and then as Conference Superintendent. He led both Henderson Settlement and the Red Bird Conference through challenging times and helped them to find new directions for ministry and mission. Finally, he returned to Louisville and served as the Treasurer of the Louisville Annual Conference until he retired.  

In 2003, David and Frances moved to Penney Retirement Community (PRC) in Penney Farms, Florida where he immediately got involved in both leadership and volunteerism. He served on PRC’s Board of Directors for 6 years and he acted as Church Secretary as well as Moderator of the Church Board for several years. He sang in the choir for a few years and volunteered to serve lunch at Beyer House for over 20 years - until he himself had to move into their assisted living facility.  In 2008 Dad lost our mother, Frances, but later he would say that Mom had sent Peggy to him. Dad married Marguerite (Peggy) Bronkema at PRC in 2011 and they were God’s great “late life” blessing to one another! Peggy always said that their relationship was the “icing on the cake” of an already full life! Dad’s family loves Peggy as he did, and we ask that you pray that God wraps her in His comfort as she goes on to love her community well without Dad at her side.  

In 2015, as President of the PRC Residents Association, Dad helped to create the “Sheparding the Shepherd Fund” which provides assistance to retired missionaries, clergy and church staff who need help with the the PRC entrance fee. What a good man we had as a father! Dad “served God in his generation” and will be missed by so many! If you would like to make a donation to the Sheparding the Shepherd Fund, please do so in his memory either by sending a check made out to PRC (but designating the Shepherds Fund), or by calling PRC with your credit card.

 Penney Retirement Community

3495 Hoffman Street

Penney Farms, FL 32079


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