It is with heavy hearts that we note the passing of our mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and aunt, Rosalie M. Allen. Rosie died Oct. 22 after a brief illness.
Rosie was the first of seven children born to the Rev. Kenneth Smoker and Rhoda (Newswanger) Smoker. The life of a Mennonite pastor meant that the family soon became accustomed to the challenges of packing up their lives and moving to another congregation. Rosie grew up in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kansas and Louisiana. Somewhere along that long road, Rosie learned that true friends (hard as it is to leave them behind) are forever; and that books can be very comforting companions. Reading and collecting books became Rosie’s life-long passion.
Living in Kansas for the second time, Rosie attended Hesston College. She then moved back east on her own, first to Pennsylvania and then to Goshen. That fortuitous decision, and a job at Goshen General Hospital, changed everything. The shy, doe-eyed young woman was “adopted” by a hospital kitchen aide who happened to have a son. Nicholas Allen announced after their second date that he was going to marry “Rose,” as only he called her. And he did, on Sept. 5, 1970.
Rosie and Nic made their family home in southern Indiana for more than 25 years. There her passion for books became a vocation. Rosie was the librarian at the Orleans Public Library. When the Allen’s moved back to Goshen in 2004, she went to work as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble in Mishawaka. She retired in 2010.
Rosie was preceded in death by her parents; her sister Carolyn Smoker; her brother Russell Smoker; and, in 2016, by her beloved husband of 45 years, Nicholas S. Allen.
She is survived by a son, William L. Allen, Mishawaka; a daughter, Heather (Nathan) Freeling, Lafayette, CA.; her adored grandson, Samuel Freeling, Lafayette, CA.; sister Lucille (Neil) Thomas, California; sisters Charlotte Claassen and Ellen (Les) Janssen, Nebraska; and a brother, Guy Smoker, Topeka, KS.
Rosie also is survived by a special niece, Heidi (Kenneth) Larson, Wichita, Kan.; a nephew, Aaron (Jehan) Zubler, Brooklyn, NY.; her 50-year “family-by-choice” friend, Kathy (Bob) Borden, Atlanta GA; her forever pal from childhood, Rachel Tafolla-Rodriguez, Kansas; her sister-in-law, Gayle Allen Dantzler, South Bend; and many more long-time friends.
As sad as we are to not have Rosie in our lives, we are comforted to know that she is at peace.
A gathering of friends and family to celebrate the life of Rosalie (Smoker) Allen will be held at 4 pm on Sunday, November 11, at 51270 Lilac Road, South Bend, IN 46628.
Goethals & Wells Funeral Home and Cremation Care, Mishawaka, is assisting with arrangements.