In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Fred Malcolm Allen, 85

Fred Malcolm Allen, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among the Sub-Saharan African Affinity Peoples in Zambia, died April 2, 2020. He was 85.

Allen was born Nov. 19, 1934, to the late B. Fred and Lorette Allen of Cunningham, Texas.

Allen attended Cunningham School, Paris (Texas) Junior College, East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University-Commerce) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

While in seminary Fred met Joy Watts at a summer youth camp where she was a speaker. Both had already felt God’s call to ministry. By December that year—and before Fred departed for service in the U.S. Army—they were married.

The two served in churches in Texas and Colorado, where they felt a clear call to international missions. Getting to the mission field wasn’t easy, however. Fred had to get more theological training, they suffered a house fire, and after IMB appointed them missionaries to Guyana in July, Guyana closed its door to missionaries. In May 1971, they and their four children headed to Africa to serve in the nation of Zambia. There Allen’s main job was to develop indigenous music and youth work.

During their final four years of service, Fred and Joy moved to the Western Province in Zambia to begin new work. Fred coordinated the digging of 14 water wells and hunger relief and seed distribution projects.

Fred and Joy retired in 1998. They continued their love of music and missions by working part-time in churches and volunteering in a variety of programs with the churches they were involved with. Fred was often a guest lecturer on music in missions at Dallas Baptist University. He enjoyed being part of The Singing Men of North Central Texas and in his final years was given a column in his hometown weekly newspaper, where he shared stories of growing up on the farm and his experiences in Zambia. Fred’s stories are in the process of being published after a favorable response from friends on the fan page of his brother, Duane, one of the Oak Ridge Boys.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Joy; children, Randy (Dana) Allen of Plano, Texas, Valerie (Gregg) Grossman of Mesquite, Texas, and Bruce (Laura) of San Antonio, Texas; daughter-in-law, Barbara Allen (Fort Worth); sister, Martha Shannon of Euless, Texas; brother, Duane (Norah Lee) Allen of Hendersonville, Tenn.; six granddaughters and one grandson; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son, Gary.

A memorial service was held June 27, 2020, at First Baptist Church, Benbrook, Texas.

Read an obituary here.

Find an account of the Allens’ story here.