Allegra Marie Reynolds passed away Saturday, January 26, 2013 from a stroke at St. Luke’s Hospital, Boise.
Allegra was born August 7, 1922 in Quinter, Kansas. She was the second of nine children and was named from a line in Longfellow’s “The Children’s Hour” poem - Laughing Allegra. She grew up helping her family with the very hard work of a family farm. She lived through the Dust Bowl and vividly remembers putting wet rags over windows and doors trying to block the dust. She also remembers the horrible grasshoppers that ate everything in sight.
She graduated from Quinter High School in 1940. She then moved to Hutchinson, Kansas to enter nurse’s training where she lived with her Aunt Alta who paid the $75.00 tuition.
She worked very hard during her nurse’s training and remembered that all the children she cared for during her pediatric rotation had polio. Some were in iron lungs.
While in nurses training, a milk man came to the hospital to deliver milk in those glass bottles. He slipped and fell and broke some of those bottles. Allegra came to help him clean up and that is when she met her future husband, James Walker Reynolds. Walker went home that very day and told his mom that he had met “the cutest nurse!”
Allegra and Walker were married on December 31, 1943 in Pratt, Kansas. Walker joined the U.S. Coast Guard and after being stationed in Alaska, he was stationed state-side and Allegra joined him in Brunswick, Georgia and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Allegra worked in the local hospitals, primarily, as a surgical nurse. She would often tell stories of having to stand-up whenever a doctor entered a room or doctors throwing instruments during surgery. She would hand mix IV’s in glass bottles and sterilize the equipment and instruments when she worked night shift. When Walker left the service, Allegra was pregnant and they moved to Anthony, Kansas where they managed a hotel. Their first daughter, Karen Marie, was born June 3, 1946. They moved to Kingman, Kansas where they managed the “Hoopes Hotel,” and their second daughter, Janet Sue Jean, was born July 26, 1957. While living in Kingman, Allegra worked for two doctors that she really liked and respected, Dr. Sam Swifel and Dr. Ned Burkett. She worked there with a very dear friend, Rachel Williams, RN. After a few years, the family moved to Garden City, Kansas where Walker sold life insurance, door-to-door. He did such a good job that he was offered the job of Home Office Underwriter for the Manhattan Mutual Life Insurance Company and so the family moved to Manhattan, Kansas. Allegra sold AVON for 6 years, while in Manhattan, which allowed the family a few “extras.”
Allegra was a very accomplished seamstress. She made all of Karen’s ballet and tap dancing costumes and Janet’s prom dresses and many clothes. Her embroidery was beautiful and looked machine-stitched because it was so precise. She also crocheted beautifully and made two intricate tablecloths, one for each of her daughters. Each tablecloth took a year to make.
After Walker’s retirement in 1988, they moved to Heber Springs, Arkansas and lived there for 13 years. They moved to Boise, Idaho in 2001 to be closer to family. Walker passed away that same year.
Allegra enjoyed living in Boise and at Brookdale at Wynwood Retirement Center. She made new friends and enjoyed living near her daughter and grand-daughter.
Allegra was preceded in death by her husband, James Walker Reynolds; her parents Otha and Eva Long; brothers Donald and Arthur; one sister Wauneta.
She is survived by her daughters Karen Marie Chalfant (James); Janet Sue Jean Jackson (Dean); grandchildren Philip James Kirmser (Beth), Deana Marie Isabell; three step-grandchildren Brian, Scott and Jeffrey Jackson and their families.
The funeral will take place at Thomason Funeral Home, Weiser, Idaho at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, January 31, 2013. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.lienkaemper-thomason.com
Donations, in her name, may be made to Lions International Sight and Hearing Foundation.