Friday, November 28, 2008




Just two months to the day of her beloved husband's passing, Mrs. Ron Allen died of cancer. I met Ron's wife twice, most recently at his wake and in the very early 1980s. At the time, an old radio crony from WVIA FM, Liz Hibbard got me a seat on an advisory board of the Health Systems Agency of Northeastern Pennsylvania. To this day, all I remember about the volunteer position was that the meetings were held in the basement of the WARM Building (yes Liz used that as a lure to get me to serve!) and the tons of paper we got on proposed HMOs, Nursing Certifications and what have you. There was this big dinner, one of their annual meetings held at the Woodlands and I got my table assignment not knowing a soul. As I sat there, much to my wide eyed amazement, Ron Allen began to stroll over to the table. Drink in hand, he sat down, nodded to the people there, said hello to me by name (I have no elusions he remembered me, I had a name tag on that said DAVE) and sat quietly. A few minutes later he was joined by his wife Mary Ann who previously was working the room. Sitting down, she, not Ron the sports celebrity dominated the conversations. Nothing about Penn State, the Sensational 7 or WARM. Ron sat there basking in the obvious knowledge about the health care system his wife possessed. It was a pleasant evening filled with better information than those position papers we got at our meetings. The only off topic subjects covered were the trips Mary Ann and Ron took. I thought about this the other day as I got the news from Tommy Woods by e mail and then saw the news on the Radio Info board. Mary Ann was very sick when Ron died but she talked about going to Philadelphia to see what was going on with her condition. She showed great courage at his wake. Reflecting on the two times I met Mrs. A., it is evident to me, that like many of us, Ron Allen "married up." Except that I think he had the good sense to know that from day 1. Here's the obit from the Radio Info Board:

Mary Ann Theresa Reap Alabovitz, 69, of the Minooka section of Scranton, died Sunday evening at the home of her daughter, Laurie, following a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ronald, Sept. 23. They celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary June 4.Born in Scranton on Jan. 4, 1939, daughter of the late Michael and Marcella Donnelly Reap, she was a member of the Church of St. Joseph. She was a 1956 graduate of Scranton Central High School and a 1959 graduate of the Scranton State Hospital School of Nursing, where she worked in the urology department. She left her career to raise her daughter and returned to work part time as a registered nurse at Laurel Hill Nursing Home in 1969. Over the years, her expertise in gerontology grew. She held various positions during her long tenure there and eventually became a licensed nursing home administrator and held that position. She became a regional vice president for New Health Management Systems in the late 1980s. She traveled extensively throughout the country, managing and consulting for skilled nursing facilities. She was the backbone of the Mountain Rest Nursing Home for many years. She retired from full-time employment in 2005 but continued to do consulting work up until September. Most recently, she was a nursing consultant at the Lackawanna Health Care Center. Mary Ann was a completely selfless person and had a way of becoming a part of your life from the moment she met you. She spent her life caring for others, her patients, her daughter, her employees, her parents and most recently her husband until his death. She was a strong and brave woman and was always able to bring a smile to your face. We will all miss her smile and her irreplaceable sense of wit. She had many personal aspirations that were still unmet and she was taken from us much too early. Mary Ann was a college football fanatic and an avid Penn State Nittany Lions fan. She never missed a football Saturday. She enjoyed gambling and was a permanent fixture at the Greenwood Hose Company bingo every Thursday night. She was an avid reader and rarely sat idle without a book in her hand. Travel was also a passion of Mary Ann's and she did so extensively with her family throughout her life. Most recently, she and her husband traveled to California and Nevada in June. Additionally, she loved her dog, Bear, and rarely left the house without him, taking him every day to McDonalds for hamburgers. Mary Ann and her daughter enjoyed many girls' weekends together. She was not only a mother but a sister and best friend as well.Surviving are a daughter, Laurie Alabovitz, Bethany; and countless friends and cousins who will surely have a void in their lives with her loss.The funeral will be Saturday at 11:30 a.m. from the Eagen-Hughes Funeral Home, 2908 Birney Ave., Scranton, with Mass of Christian Burial at noon in the Church of St. Joseph, 312 Davis St., Scranton, to be celebrated by her cousin, the Rev. Patrick Albert. Entombment, Cathedral Cemetery. Friends may call Friday, 4 to 7 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ron Allen Memorial Sport Scholarship Fund c/o Pennstar Bank, 801 S. Main St., Taylor, 18517; or the Bethany Village Memorial Garden, 150 Noble Lane, Bethany, 18431.

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