• 50°

William (Willie) Nathan Allen, 89, of Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, Nov. 18 – Mr. William (Willie) Nathan Allen, 89, of Cumberland County, departed this life on Sunday, November 16, 2008 after a brief illness. Born on August 27, 1919 in Buckingham County to the late Guy Hubert and Nannie Holman Allen, he was a lifelong resident of Cumberland.

He is survived by his faithful wife of 61 years, Bertha Sanderson Allen; his loving daughter, Mary Frances Hazlegrove, and devoted grandsons, Guy Varner Hazlegrove and wife, Carolyn, and Robert Perkins Hazlegrove and wife, Elizabeth all of Cumberland County and son-in-law, Allen Perkins Hazelgrove of Yorktown. Immediate family also includes his brother, Jack Hubert Allen of Cumberland, and sister, Nancy Allen Leslie of Richmond. Additionally, he leaves many relatives and friends who remember him as a kind and generous southern gentleman who shared whatever he had, whether it was advice on sowing and harvesting of grain or consideration for the less fortunate.

Mr. Allen was preceded in death by a sister, Mildred Winfrey.

He was a lifelong member of Centenary United Methodist Church. As a child of the Depression, Willie was accustomed to hard work. To help his family make ends meet, he hunted and trapped as a boy and sought employment as a water boy with the Virginia state highway department. He later helped his father run the family farm, do custom harvesting, and operate a sawmill, all in the Guinea neighborhood of Cumberland County. When he was a teenager, he purchased his first piece of farmland, and he was an active farmer until the end. He was happiest when he was tending his beef cattle and crops and passing on his wisdom to his grandsons and farming partners, Guy and Robert Hazlegrove.

His dedicated employment of 40 years as the miller for Prince Edward Mills and later Roanoke City Mills in Farmville, was interrupted by military service in the US Army in WWII. While assigned as an engineer in the 77th Infantry Division, he served in Hokkaido, Japan as a sergeant with the Army of Occupation rebuilding that devastated country. An extremely talented machinist and carpenter, Willie could fabricate almost anything for the mill or his farm.

His love of the soil, nature, and the environment resulted in his passionate stewardship of his beloved Allenwood Farm. He delighted in seeing the beauty of the wildlife, and tried his best to protect the wild turkeys. An avid reader, he consumed books on history and articles on agriculture, and he was well versed on current events, particularly national politics.

The Rev. Won Lee and the Rev. Dale Brown conducted the funeral service at Centenary United Methodist Church, Cumberland, on Tuesday, November 18. Interment followed the service in the church cemetery.

Remembrances may be made to Centenary United Methodist Church or the rescue squad of your choice.

Doyne-Burger-Davis Funeral Home, Farmville, served the family.