|Reuel Hale Allen was born August 13, ten children to Dee H. and Ada Munnerlyn Allen. Like Suzanna Wesley, Reuel’s mother felt that he was called of God for a special purpose prompting her to give him the Biblical name Reuel, meaning, “friend of God”.
After early schooling at LSU and a Lake Charles trade school, Reuel took his first job as a bookkeeper. He left this position to prepare for the ministry. His plans were abruptly interrupted by a draft notice to enter the armed services at the beginning of World War II. The next few years found him serving with the 36th Infantry Division in Italy, Germany and where the traumatic experiences of war left a permanent effect upon his life.
Reuel and Wanda Virginia Candler were married in 1947. With Wanda’s strong support, he graduated from Centenary College with honors. Allens then moved to Nashville, TN where Reuel attended Vanderbilt School of Theology. Reuel distinguished himself as a brilliant scholar graduating as valedictorian of the class of 1953. He was awarded both theWilbur F.Tillet Award in theology and the Founders Medal for highest scholarship attainment. In the next few years he was to write poems of such and quality that one of his publishing editors referred to him as one of America’s young undiscovered poets.
Reuel served the Hermitage Methodist Church in Tennessee. Returning to Louisiana, he served the Plain Dealing Methodist Church from 1954-1958. During this period he taught Bible courses at Centenary College. Other appointments in the Louisiana Conference included Winbourne in Baton Rouge, Elysian Fields and Parker Memorial in New Orleans, Pharr Chapel in Morgan City, Delhi, Oak Ridge and St. Marks, Coushatta and Morningside in Shreveport.
Reuel was a conscientious minister faithfully fulfilling all the pastoral duties of his calling. Much of his ministry took place during a period of social turmoil. A person of strong personal integrity and honesty he felt alienated from the people to whom he sought to minister as he held fast to the highest demands of the gospel. This caused him pain and anguish but he was always respected by the many people his life touched in his varied ministry. He has left a legacy of a loving family, the esteem from many people of all walks of life and some deep personal friendships, especially from his fellow ministers.
Reuel retired due to ill health in 1977. The last few years were spent in Shreveport and Longvlew, TX, where Wanda was employed by the Sun Oil Company. It was there that Reuel went to his heavenly home October 4, 1985, only a short while after his wife’s death. A son had preceded him in death by a few years. He is survived by one son, Stuart Allen of Longview, one daughter, Carol Shurr of Ft. Smith, AR; two granddaughters, two sisters and four brothers. The funeral service was held in Vivian, Louisiana.
The closing lines from a poem he penned as a young soldier, and published in a leading newspaper under the title Victory Song, stands as his prayer for his fellowman and a benediction to his life.
Forbid Almighty God, that we,
Born in Thy Spirit, washed in the blood
Of Christ, shall know such gross indignity
And loss of all the common good.
When Victory’s won, may years to be,
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1986: p. 266-267 By William P. Fraser|