In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Billie Joy Allen, 92

Billie Joy Allen, 1928-2020

Billie Joy Allen, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among Sub-Saharan African Affinity Peoples in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, died Oct. 24, 2020, in Pittsburg, Texas. She was 92.

Born on Feb. 28, 1928, to the late Virgil and Ettie Bell Metcalf in Venus, Texas, Allen grew up in Beckville, Texas, where she graduated from high school.  At age 19, she married Walter Eugene Allen. For 13 years, the couple worked through school and in pastoral ministry, including study at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

In 1960, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed them missionaries and with their three young children, they moved to East Africa, where they served more than 20 years as a missionaries in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, There Billie was involved in field evangelism, church planting and missionary support.

When seeking missionary appointment, Allen wrote that she and her husband had felt a call to missions for years when he attended an Arkansas state Baptist convention meeting where Foreign Mission Board president, Baker James Cauthen presented the need for people to surrender to foreign mission service.

“After seven years of struggle, my husband made his decision to go if God would make it possible,” she wrote. “When he told me of his decision, I knew immediately in my heart that this was God’s will for me also.”

Upon retiring and returning to the United States, Billie served as the Harmony-Pittsburg (Texas) Baptist Association secretary.  She also served with Walter at Piney Grove Baptist Church as pastor’s wife, Sunday school teacher, nursery keeper and kitchen help.  After retirement, she accompanied Walter to many posts throughout East Texas where he served as interim and supply pastor.

In ministry and at home, her family said, Allen worked tirelessly behind the scenes. To them, she will be especially remembered for innumerable meals prepared, beans snapped, berries picked, tomatoes peeled, curry served, and dishes scrubbed.

Billie was preceded in death by her husband of 69 years, Rev. Walter E. Allen.  She is survived by her son, John V. Allen (Evelyn), her daughter Lizabeth A. Haefs (Wes), and by her son Walter M. Allen.  Billie leaves a legacy of seven grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, four great-great grandchildren, and four great-great-great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Nov. 3, 2020, at the Allen Funeral Home, Wylie, TX.

Read an obituary here.