He was surrounded by his wife and family who loved him very much.
He was born in Bristol, Tn. on September 27, 1931, the son of the late Frank H. and Ethel Ellis Allen. Ben was a graduate of Tennessee High School and East Tennessee State University. He served in the U. S. Air Force from January, 1951 to December, 1954, where he was awarded the Strategic Air Command’s “Outstanding Airman’s Achievement Award.”
Ben was President of Southwest Oil Co. in Big Stone Gap and retired in 1991 after 32 years of service. He then operated Lonesome Pine Raceway for several years.
Ben Allen loved his community and served it in many ways for many years. He served on the Big Stone Gap Town Council and was the Mayor twice. Other regional board of directors and community services included Lenowisco, Wise Co. I. D. A., Virginia Petroleum Jobbers Association, Mobil Oil Advisory Committee, M.E.C.C. Foundation, Lonesome Pine Hospital, Wellmont Foundation, Holston Home for Children and the Big Stone Gap Lions Club.
He enjoyed all sports, including racing, high school and college football and basketball. Ben was the “Voice of the Powell Valley Vikings,” serving as public address announcer for over 40 years. For the past twenty years, Ben hosted the local radio show “Pigskin Picks.”
Ben was a Christian and a church man. He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Big Stone Gap for 60 years. He proudly served in church, volunteering in many committees and ministries.
Ben cherished his relationships with people from all walks of life and his smile and was a comfort to those with which he came in contact.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Frances Allen, Mary Rotenberry, Jane Reid and Nancy Woodward.
Surviving are his wife of 67 years, Dorothy A. “Dotty” Allen; sons, Andy Allen (Jeff), Nashville, Tn and Mike (Mary Beth) Allen, Big Stone Gap; daughter, Carol (Mark) Blanken, Kingsport, Tn.; grandsons, John Michael Allen, Kurt and T. J. Blanken; granddaughters, Lauren (Tyler) Mottern and Erika (Austin) Daniels; two great grandsons, two nephews, including special nephew, David Rotenberry (Joanne); and one niece.
The family would like to offer a special thank you and love to Iva Lou Johnson, and the team of caregivers, Summer Rhodes, Sara Goins, Donna Adams, Jennifer Mullins and Hospice and Palliative Care of Va.
The family will receive friends from 10:00 to 1:00 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 203 E. 1st, South, in Big Stone Gap. The funeral service will follow at 1 p.m. with the Rev. Ronnie Mutter officiating.
Military graveside rites, accorded by the U. S. Air Force Honors Team, Shaw AFB, and local V.F.W. and D.A.V. posts will follow at Powell Valley Memorial Gardens in Big Stone Gap.
Pallbearers will be: John Michael Allen, Kurt Blanken, T. J. Blanken, Winston Witt, Wendell Barnette, Greg Kress, Tyler Mottern and Austin Daniels.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations in Ben’s name to be made to the Holston United Methodist Church Home for Children, 404 Holston Drive, Greeneville, Tn. 37743.
To view the obituary online and offer condolences, please visit www.gilliamfuneralhome.com.
Gilliam Funeral Home is honored to serve Mr. Allen’s family.