Cover photo for Gerald James Allen's Obituary
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1944 Gerald 2023

Gerald James Allen

March 16, 1944 — November 22, 2023

Fence Lake, New Mexico



Gerald (Jerry) J. Allen, born March 3, 1944, beloved brother and uncle sadly passed away on November 22, 2023, at the age of 79, from complications arising from surgery to repair a severely broken hip he sustained in a fall.


At the time of his death, Mr. Allen was a well-thought-of member of the small community of Fence Lake, NM where he has lived since his retirement from the US Navy in 1983.


Jerry was a career Naval man and American Patriot who received many accolades, commendations, and medals for his long and dedicated service to his Country. He enlisted soon after he graduated from High School in June of 1965, and excelled in his chosen career, which is evidenced by the many letters of accomplishment that he received from his commanding officers over the years.


Unlike most Vietnam Vets, Jerry described his experience in Country as one of the most rewarding times of his life. This is because he was part of a helicopter crew in search and rescue. Gerald was a brave man and had always been such, as evidenced by a story told by his eldest brother about Jerry, at three years old, saving a little two year old girl from being bitten by a rattlesnake. So it was no surprise that he was recognized for his bravery when he earned a Navy Commendation Award for Heroic Achievement on December 8, 1968. This was a favorite story of the family.


He was participating in a helicopter search and rescue operation when the helicopter took fire and was going to crash in water. The Lieutenant in command of the aircraft froze during the emergency and would have crashed and most likely drowned, except that Jerry rescued him by bodily throwing him out of the helicopter! Jerry always smiled when he told that story.


He was also honored with The Air Medal for Meritorious Service for the period of August 6, 1967 through September 28, 1967. This is a high honor to win and he is in such notable company of recipients as Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, George H.W. Bush, John Glen, Douglas MacArthur, Norman Schwarzkopf, Jimmy Stewart, among others.


In addition to numerous Letters of Achievement, and two Letters of Commendation in September of 1980, Jerry was also awarded another Navy Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service for the period of January 17, 1968 through November 25, 1970.


Jerry studied aviation electronics and earned the title of Chief Aviation Electronics Technician on July 16, 1978, after completing the Master Course in Color TV Servicing at National Schools in Los Angeles, California, in March of that same year.


He amazed his family by building an electronic color television complete from the ground up and used this TV for many years. One of his nieces was so impressed with this achievement, because in her words, "it looked just like a TV you would buy in a store!"


Jerry retired from the Navy on June 30, 1983 and transferred from Active Duty to the Naval Fleet Reserves and received his Certificate of Retirement as a Senior Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Electronics Technician on April 1, 1993.


In the meantime, Jerry lived in Fence Lake and took a job with the State Highway Department working under Mr. Darrell Bogart. While working for the Highway Department he was chosen to represent District 6 in the Road'eo competition, which tests the Equipment Operating skills of Highway workers across the Country. Jerry was a very skilled Equipment Operator as evidenced by his being awarded a first place trophy in 1994, a third place trophy in 1997, and a second place trophy in 1998. Gerald was extremely skilled in operating a dump truck, and loved any heavy equipment operating.


One of his most rewarding lifetime achievements, however, was being able to make his community a safer place to live by assisting Darrell & Kitty Bogart in founding the Fence Lake Voluntary Fire Department. He and the Bogart's led the way to getting this important resource installed in Fence Lake, which until that point had no fire or ambulance services. In fact, Jerry and Darrell actually purchased the first piece of equipment for the department with their own funds! As Fence Lake is miles away from the nearest Hospital, this was something the community desperately needed. Jerry also served as Fire Chief for many years, when Mr. Bogart stepped down from that position.


He met and married his wife, Helen, in the '80's, but unfortunately she passed away on October 1, 1995. He is survived by this three brothers Glen Allen, Charlie Allen, and Marvin Allen, as well as by his nieces, Sarah Budde, Susan Lemmons, and Lanai Strong, and by his nephews Lenny Allen, Jerry Allen, and John Allen. He is also survived by numerous great grand nieces and nephews.


Jerry will be remembered for his kind heart, keen wit, and dedication to others. He is described by some as the most ethical man they ever met, by others as the most reliable, and still others as the kindest gentle giant on the planet. He will be missed and the world is a little poorer with his loss. We pray that he has found his place in Heaven where we will meet him again in due time.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gerald James Allen, please visit our flower store.


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