Mary Ann Allen, 71, died on Dec. 30, 2018, at Capital Caring hospice in Arlington, Virginia, after a 12-year fight against cancer. Born in Montgomery, Alabama, on Sept. 23, 1947, she was the daughter of Asa W. and Katherine Allen. A graduate of Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery, she attended Virginia Commonwealth University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she received her master's degree in philosophy.
She devoted several years to the civil rights struggle. While working in Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, her house was firebombed by neo-Nazis in Tennessee. They were not charged. Instead, she was charged with sedition, which her brother, retired television network news correspondent John Cochran, says made her unique among his acquaintances. Famed civil rights lawyer William Kunstler defended her, and charges were dropped after she agreed to leave the state.
She taught philosophy at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA, before deciding she could do more good by helping the ill. In her 40s she became a nurse practitioner at Kaiser Healthcare in Falls Church, VA, where she worked until retiring. While her health allowed, she made annual visits as a medical missionary to Kenya and Uganda as part of her Anglican church's mission. She was a member of The Falls Church and taught Sunday school there.
In addition to her brother and his wife, Barbara, she is survived by a son, John, his wife, Raven, and their infant daughter, Julia, and a daughter, Melissa. She also had a niece, Katherine, and nephew, Walker, in Pensacola, FL. Another brother, Asa Allen, passed away in 2012.
A memorial service will be held this spring near her son's Prescott, Arizona, home atop a mountain where she enjoyed hiking.
Published in the Montgomery Advertiser on February 3, 2019