Council Pres. Dr. Allen dies

Published 4:54 pm Saturday, April 10, 2010

SELMA —City Council President Dr. Geraldine Allen died Saturday of cancer.

Friends gathered at her house in Selma to pay their condolences.

Nancy Sewell, a former council member and long-time educator, spoke of her neighbor and the loss the community has suffered.

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“She was a great lady; a great educator and great community leader,” Sewell said. “Whatever she put her hands to do, she did it superbly.”

Sewell spoke of Allen’s standards of excellence from the late council president’s days at Selma High School as its student body president to her days as PTO president as Allen’s children followed in their mother’s educational footsteps.

“She always pushed for excellence,” Sewell said.

This was Allen’s second term on the council. Previously she had served as council representative for Selma City Ward 4. After four years in Ward 4, she opted to run for president, which required an at-large race.

Of her decision, Allen said at the time, “I love this city and see its great potential, but the city council must become more aware of the image it portrays to the public. It is time for a change and I am ready for the challenge.”

Her colleagues agreed she met that challenge.

“Dr. Allen exemplified what leadership should be,” said Corey Bowie, Ward 8 council representative.

Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard also noted her parliamentary skills “that brought order to a drastic situation.”

Others praised Allen for her honesty in her dealings with them.

District Attorney Michael Jackson called Allen “exceptional.” Juanda Maxwell, who was appointed to serve on the Riverfront Board, spoke of Allen’s unique gift to care for people as well as govern.

“I feel bad for Selma,” Maxwell said. “It will truly mourn her loss.”

Congressman Artur Davis of the 7th District was in Selma Saturday to open his campaign headquarters for his gubernatorial bid when he heard the news of Allen’s death. He called it an “enormous tragedy,” which would not only be felt by her family, but by Selma.

Davis said when she was elected as council president he had looked forward to seeing her impact on Selma politics for a long time.

He offered his condolences to the family.

Allen’s background was thick with administrative work, including director of the Master’s of Science in the nursing program for the School of Nursing at Troy University. She was a member of the state advisory board for Women and Minority Health through the Alabama Department of Public Health, the advisory board of education on HIV Disease and Prevention in Alabama school systems, grades K-12 and the state advisory board for Women’s Health Promotion and Prevention of Disease.

Her community service background included serving as president of the Jonathan Daniel Community Development Corp. and at one time, serving on the Selma City School Board.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later.