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Life Story / Obituary
Jon Allen lived a full life. A hardworking and successful private investigator, he enjoyed building relationships with others while supporting his family. There simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for each and every one of them. Jon will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered for his easy-going and loving personality.
In the year 1938, Orson Welles' radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds was broadcast and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs held its Hollywood premiere. Jon Charles was welcomed home, joining his older brother, Lawrence, on November 20th in Lake Oswego, Oregon. His birth brought great joy to his hard-working parents. His dad worked as the principal of the local high school, and later at the docks in Portland, where Jon’s mom worked as a part time receptionist.
Jon lived a typical childhood of the times. He enjoyed his fair share of mischief and hung out around the train tracks near his home with his “Yhetti” buddies. Throughout his high school years, their bond grew stronger. He was not very athletic but enjoyed cheering for the basketball team and spending time along the Oregon coast. Jon especially loved the town of Seaside and enjoyed fair rides and his favorite fair food, the ever-popular corn dogs referred to as Pronto Pups. After graduating with the Class of 1957 from Lake Oswego High School, Jon enlisted in the Air Force. During his nearly five years of serving, he attended night school. He was stationed in Japan working telemetry and also at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington by the time he was discharged. Though he realized the life of a soldier wasn’t for him, he was still proud of these years of service.
During his time in the Air Force, he met his first wife, Patricia. The two of them were both ready to settle down and start a family. Together they welcomed home four children: Judi, Jon, Heidi, and Melissa, before their eleven-year marriage came to an end. A while later, Jon met and married Nanci. She brought three children to the marriage--Danny, Michael, and Lisa--that Jon treated as his own. They later had their son, Shawn and their daughter, Kristen. As a dad, he was very patient and allowed his kids to find their own way. He was always supportive of their endeavors and was there for them when they needed help of any kind. Jon and Nanci’s marriage ended in 2006, and he moved back to the Pacific Northwest with friends and family.
Jon had a wide variety of pastimes he enjoyed over the years. Later in life he was able to get back into art. He liked to paint with acrylics and mostly painted abstracts and animals. Jon did a special painting of his Pekingese, Mingh, who lived for twenty remarkable years. He also enjoyed painting samurais and Yetis. He showed some of his works of art in local galleries. He loved to travel, and his job took him to many interesting areas over the years. Later in life, Jon worked as a private investigator where he claimed his success in “garbage-ology”. For much of his life he lived in Mesa, Arizona, and enjoyed taking in many parts of that area. Jon was into fashion and the latest trends. He liked to keep his home and his clothes clean. He had a vast collection of watches, rings, and gold chains. He liked to look his best with plenty of jewelry, and his hair was always well groomed in a ponytail. When it came to sports, Jon was a huge fan of Gonzaga basketball, where Shawn went to school. He enjoyed cheering them on as well as the Phoenix Suns.
When it came to food and entertainment, the more the merrier! Jon loved to cook and invite the family over for his homemade spaghetti and meatballs that were made from scratch. He also had memorized the recipe for his famous Sicilian calzones. Jon loved to wash it down with his favorite drink, a Kickstart that he drank by the pallet! He loved to listen to the blues, as well as music from his favorite musicians: Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, and Earth Wind and Fire. When it came to movies, he enjoyed a wide range of war, sci-fi, and police films. There was never a dull moment when Jon was around. He loved to enjoy the company of others, especially his furry companions over the years. All nine children that Jon raised had their own children, whom Jon adored. Whenever he could be together with his grandchildren, his heart was content.
Five years ago, Jon met a loyal friend and companion, Rebecca Landes, at a retirement home in Seattle, Washington. They hit it off and lived together for the remainder of his days as he battled Alzheimer’s which developed from vascular dementia. They moved to Kalamazoo in order to be near Rebecca’s brother, Doug, sister-in-law, Sue, and their dog, Pepper. He and Rebecca loved to dance together and take long walks with Mingh. He had a special connection with animals, especially dogs. The past year was difficult, and Rebecca tenderly cared for him until the end. Described as humble, as well as very private, Jon never liked to be a burden to others. He was immensely grateful for the wonderful care he was given by Rebecca, as well as Doug and Sue and many others.
Jon leaves behind a legacy of being gentle and hardworking. May his many special loved ones be comforted in knowing that he loved each and every one of them unconditionally.
Jon Charles Allen died peacefully at his home on May 17, 2021 in Kalamazoo. Cremation will take place, and private family services are being planned. Please visit Jon’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read his life story, and archive a favorite story, memory, or photo. Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Association.