Susan Lisbeth Brown Allen
Susan Allen of King George, Virginia, passed away peacefully on October 18th, 2023 after a long illness and after her husband, grandchildren and daughter said their final goodbyes. Susan was born on December 9, 1939 to Robert and Helen Brown in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was the oldest of five children. Her father Robert was a Colonel in the U.S. Army and his tours of duty took the family to Tokyo, Japan; Annandale, Virginia; San Francisco, California; and Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated high school from St. Mary’s Academy in Alexandria, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Hawaii.
Susan’s career at the Central Intelligence Agency took her to Vientiane, Laos, where she met future husband John. They were married on June 5th, 1971. They were blessed with two energetic and rambunctious children, Mary Elizabeth “Betsy” (b. 1976) and Matthew Knorr (b. 1978). After their birth, Susan took a leave of absence from work to focus on their children’s learning disabilities and ADHD.
Home for the Allens was on Military Rd., NW, in Washington, D.C. although their 30 years there was interspersed with moves to Cambridge, Massachusetts; Montgomery, Alabama; and London, England. Later, Susan’s love of travel meant taking trips with John to such places as Alaska and up the Columbia River, and visiting Portugal and China with her daughter.
In 1997, Susan and John retired to the Brown family home, Hobson Farm in King George County, Virginia, which thereafter was Susan’s favorite place in the world and where Susan and John finished the modernization of the 230-year-old Federalist home. While indulging her passion for flower gardening, Susan enjoyed family get-togethers with her siblings, nieces and nephews, son and daughter, and her four grandchildren. During this time, Susan became an active member at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church singing in the choir and volunteering to support the local community. She also served as the Treasurer and President of the James Madison Garden Club.
She had a knack for attracting hummingbirds many of which she named. One of her favorite things to do at Hobson was to sit on the back porch with John in the evening, enjoy a glass of wine, and watch the hummingbirds zip and buzz around the house. Susan and John spent a lot of time in Williamsburg, Virginia where they purchased a second home.
Susan was creative in many ways. Like her mother, Susan was a talented decorator creating murals at Hobson and her grandchildren’s bedrooms. She loved to sew and would make her children clothes when they were young, making quilts, and making doll clothes to create Christmas baskets for her daughter, grandchildren and the local church. An active reader, Susan also participated in several book clubs over the years.
Susan was the definition of a lady. She was caring, intelligent, independent and had a quick with perfect timing. She had a love for animals and liked to have a family cat or dog in the house to curl up with. She was known as Nana to her grandchildren because she did not like being called “Grandma”. Like her siblings and mother, Susan operated on “Brown time” which drove spouses up the wall. At one of his first visits to Hobson, John was gobsmacked to watch the Brown offspring all go in opposite directions when dinner was announced before eventually trickling back to sit down to eat.
Susan is preceded in death by her parents Robert and Helen, her brother-in-law Keith Deringer, and by her nephew Patrick Brown. She is survived by her husband John Knorr Allen, her children Mary Elizabeth “Betsy” Allen and Matt Knorr Allen, her grandchildren Sadie Willow Marks, Kara Frances Marks, Finn Maxwell Marks, and Josephine Haywood Marks, her siblings David Brown (Courtney), Timothy Brown (Jane), Steven Brown (Ainsley), Sara Deringer, her nieces and nephews Christine Comerford, Kelly Keener, Christopher Brown, Adam Brown, Ellie Brown, her great niece Vivien Brown, Charlie Comerford, Nettie Comerford, and Elijah Brown. The family is planning a celebration of life at Hobson this spring where her ashes will be sprinkled at the same spot as her parents. In lieu of gifts, donations can be made to King George Animal Shelter’s account at Eagle’s Nest Animal Shelter in King George, Virginia.
Bucktrout Funeral Home is assisting the family.