Ellen M. Allred
Our beloved mom, grandmother and great grandmother passed away in her home in Santa Barbara on September 24th, 2012 at the age of 99, surrounded by her family.
She was born July 2, 1913 on a farm 11 miles southwest of WaKeeney, Kansas on land that had been homesteaded by her grandparents who had taken advantage of the Homestead Act of 1862. She was the daughter of Frank and Julia Stradal, Czech immigrants.
Despite the hardships of farm life and the eventual Great Depression, she remembered her early years with great affection: attending a one-room country school house for the first 8 years of her education, dances at Big Creek Hall, herding the cows home in the evening with hoes handy to kill the ubiquitous rattle snakes. Home was a neat frame house built by her father and surrounded by gardens planted by her mother. Delicious meals of the freshest vegetables and meat came from the farm – all home-grown.
They were the first family in the area to have a piano and mom’s parents insisted she and her sister Norma finish high school and college, not common for farm girls of the time who married young. She and Norma attended Fort Hayes State College where she met Maurice Faulkner, a fellow student, and industrious guy who put himself through school by holding down three jobs as well as forming his own dance band. His dynamic personality and dimples were legendary and mom was smitten – as was he by her sultry beauty.
After their graduation and marriage, dad taught music at small town high schools in rural Kansas. Each summer for 6 years they drove their aging Ford to New York City while he attended Columbia University, achieving a master’s degree in music. A teaching offer in the music department at San Jose State brought them to California and ultimately Santa Barbara where Maurice taught music courses at the Riviera campus of Santa Barbara Teachers College and eventually UCSB.
Daughters Kathy and Barbara were born in Santa Barbara, although they lived for a time in Palo Alto while their dad earned a doctorate at Stanford. After Maurice’s return from duty in the Korean War, our parents were divorced and mom went back to school to earn a California teaching credential and taught for 18 years at Roosevelt School.
Her marriage to Rusty Allred opened up the great outdoors to her and thus began the happiest time of her life: fishing, camping, trips in their RV to Alaska and Mexico, horse pack trips into the high Sierras, boating on Cachuma Lake and off the coast of Santa Barbara, square dancing and water skiing, our mom gracefully leaping the wake of Rusty’s high-powered boat.
Mom lived her life with integrity and her work ethic set a great example for all who knew her. She was always full of curiosity and childlike wonder at the beauty of the world around her. She was the neighborhood “cookie lady” and she was our rock and inspiration. There are no words to describe how much she will be missed by all of us who loved her.
Ellen is survived by her daughters Katherine Bart and Barbara Faulkner (Suzanne), her granddaughter Shannon Colleary (Michael) and beloved great granddaughters Rowan and Willa Colleary.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to: Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care, 222 W. Canon Perdido St., SB, CA 93101, the American Cancer Society, 1432 Chapala St., SB, CA 93105 or a charity of your choice.
A celebration of her life will be private. She would want everyone to get out to vote on Nov. 6. Her one regret, we are certain, would be that she could not cast her vote for Barack Obama.