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Post founder Alice Allen dies at 90

Post founder Alice Allen dies at 90
Alice Allen in her lane at the pool at MVP, waving to everyone. It was her last time in the pool doing what she loved; she suffered a stroke later that evening. Photo by Teresa Schlump.

by Lois Allen

Alice Allen, a Cedar Springs resident for the past 50 years and founder of The Cedar Springs Post, died at her home in the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 21.

Alice believed in a paper for Cedar Springs. For years her and I built The Post together, side by side. If not for her fierce commitment, her selfless and intensive work ethic, working well into the early morning hours week after week without taking a single paycheck, there would be no newspaper about and for the people of Cedar Springs.

If she were here today, you would find her in her swimsuit, no matter what the weather, walking in the water, doing her 90 or more laps (about a mile) at the MVP gym in Rockford. Suffering from congestive heart failure, it was her way to stay alive as long as possible. For the past decade, that was where she felt her best—weightless and walking. She never missed a day. Her commitment and determination grew to inspire those who knew her there. And everyone knew her. They treated her like a celebrity, giving her food, cards, gifts, and the benefit of their friendship.

She didn’t own a television, didn’t have a computer or the internet. She loved listening to classical music, reading books, and her cat Bob. The walls of her home were literally covered with books. Hard cover, soft cover, books on tape and on DVD.  Mostly she loved mystery crime novels. And she was a regular patron of the Cedar Springs Library. She loved to read, write letters, and send cards to her family and friends. She always remembered everyone’s birthday and special occasions, and if you were in her life, you could be sure to expect a card from Alice.

She always thought of others. When I was a little girl, about 8 or 9 years old, we lived in Grand Rapids and had gone to John Ball Park to have a picnic. When we were leaving, she told me to pick up the trash we left and throw it away. I did. When I returned to the car, she told me to go back and pick up the rest of the trash. 

“But that’s not our trash,” I bemoaned. 

“I don’t care,” she told me. “If everyone left the park nicer than when they came, it would always be nice.”  And, of course, she was right. That’s the kind of person she was. Her kindness extended to all animals. She could never turn away a stray or see an animal go hungry. She was devoted to feeding the colorful variety of birds (and hungry squirrels) that came to her house for seed in the winter and summer too.

A friend of Alice’s took this photo at Frederick Meijer Gardens last year.

The friends she made were friends for life. As a little girl in school, the students in her class had pen pals in other countries. My mother’s pen pal lived in the U.K. They continued writing to each other long after, up until her death, nearly 80 years later.

Even more remarkable is the hundreds of cards she received and treasured from many of the people whose lives she touched. She cherished all of them and never threw any away. There are boxes and boxes of them, each holding notes of encouragement, good wishes and happy thoughts. Her last birthday was her most special when she received over a hundred birthday cards from Cedar Springs residents, friends, and even from people she had never met. And you can bet that she read each and every one.

Cedar Springs is a warm and generous community… but just a little less without Alice.

See her obituary here.

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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