Olive G. Allan died quite unexpectedly at age 97 Friday morning, August 10, in Maryview Medical Center, near her home of recent years in Portsmouth, Virginia. Olive was born on April 8, 1915 in Riverside, Rhode Island, to Clifford and Ica (Emmett) Williams, and was proud of her heritage as a 9th-generation direct descendant of Roger Williams, founder of Providence, Rhode Island Colony, and the Baptist Church in America. Roger Williams’s most significant legacy is as the progenitor of religious freedom in the original 13 colonies, and as an individualistic thinker who believed in genuine democracy and the dignity of all religions and Native Americans (who revered him), long before those views were widely held in the colonies. This independently minded heritage was greatly influential to Olive in life.
Olive was happily married to Thomas Allan, a Seekonk native, for nearly 60 years until his passing in 1997. She was predeceased by sisters Florence Manning, Jane Tully, Dorothy Lord, and her brother Norman. She leaves to cherish her memory a daughter, Judith A. Mitchel of Portsmouth, son Thomas T. Allan III of Suffolk, Va., and in Edgartown son Geoffrey and grandson Greg, with whom she shared a special bond and the wit and artistic traits of the Williams family. Olive is also survived by seven other grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren in various parts of the U.S.
Although Olive lived in various places as dictated by Tom’s career, “home” would always be the New England coast, since she grew up within sight and sound of Narragansett Bay. She held a special affection for Falmouth and this island, and in the 1950s had an innovative wall completely done as a mural of an enlarged color photo of Menemsha for the basement rec room in her Walpole home of the time.
To this day, walking into her well-kept Portsmouth house was like transporting to a New England home, and her artistic eye always assured that visitors would comment on the decor (never complete without Peter Simon’s Vineyard Calendar).
Olive was a patron of the arts, a loyal supporter of PBS for decades, a great friend of charitable good causes, and a faithful congregant of the various churches attended over the years. Above all she loved children, music, nature, the woodlands and coast of New England, and her appreciative family. Olive’s grace and presence will be profoundly missed by all who knew her.
A Memorial Service will be held at the family’s church of much of the past 52 years, Green Acres Presbyterian in Portsmouth on August 29 at 11 am. Interment will be at a later date at the family plot in Rehoboth.
In lieu of flowers, the family request is to make a gift to a charity of your choice, or perhaps just to remember Olive with a quiet walk by the shore.
Condolences to the family may be made at snellingsfuneralhome.com.