Former state lawmaker and Montgomery County commissioner Dixie Allen has died. She was 84.
Allen worked 39 years as a civilian employee for the U.S. Air Force in data systems and personnel management at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Los Angeles AFB and Andrews AFB.
She succeeded at institutions that were dominated by white males, said her son, Lenny Allen. “She had a strong drive within herself to prove she could do it when the odds were against her.”
According to her biography at OhioStatehouse.org, in her most significant Air Force post, she managed personnel specialists responsible for developing procedures for hiring, promoting and evaluating 85,000 civilian employees at seven bases across six states.
“At home it was different. She left it open for us to be ourselves. She did lead by example and left it up to us if we wanted to follow,” Lenny Allen said.
Allen was appointed to the Ohio House in January 1998 to fill a vacancy and elected to the post in November 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004. She often cooperated with Republican leaders, rankling some of her Democratic colleagues.
“I thought so highly of her. She was a great partner in a lot of the work that I did in the time I was the speaker of the House,” said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. He gave Allen credit for helping start the EdChoice Scholarship, which allows students in failing public schools to receive funds to attend private schools.
“She cared a lot about kids and wanted them to have better futures through education,” Husted said. “She was a kind person who I will miss.”
Allen switched political parties in 2006 and was appointed as a Republican to the Montgomery County board of commissioners — a job she later lost when Democrat Judy Dodge defeated her.
Allen graduated from Roosevelt High School and Central State University.
She married her high school sweetheart, Jimmy, on July 17, 1954. They had two sons, Lenny and Tony, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Twice she served as the Dayton chapter president of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, which is a community service organization of predominately black, college-educated women.
Allen was an avid sports fan, especially high school teams. She regularly attended the Flying to the Hoops basketball tournament at Kettering Fairmont High School, never missed a basketball or football game for her grandsons and attended 20 straight state track championship meets to cheer on Jefferson High School teams, said Lenny Allen.
He said his mother would want to be remembered as a mother, grandmother and true friend.
“Dixie was what you’d consider a loyal friend,” said former Dayton mayor Rhine McLin, who served in the Legislature with Allen.
Funeral services will be noon Monday April 8 at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Dayton. Family will receive visitors beginning at 10 a.m.
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