Moma. Nanny Emma. Auntie Em. Memma.
Emma Allen was known by many names by those who loved her — and who now celebrate the life she lived.
Emma died May 13, 2021, after an illness in Burleson, Texas.
Graveside service: 11 a.m. Monday, May 17, at Laurel Land Cemetery, 7100 Crowley Road, Fort Worth.
Emma Ruth Smith was born Dec. 12, 1929, to Charles and Ethel Smith in Fort Worth, the seventh of nine children.
At 13, she lied about her age to get a job at Harris Hospital during the polio outbreak. She later worked the dry cleaning counter for guests at Hotel Texas in downtown Fort Worth. She loved to tell the story that actress Joan Crawford, who stayed at the hotel, had her clothes embroidered with “JC.”
She worked for decades, a point of pride that she could always take care of herself and her loved ones. Raymond “Bo” Allen started coming into the Ballinger Street Drugstore, where she worked.
“I like to see her coming, but I love to see her walk away,” he would say.
But they didn’t really get to know each other until she took a job as a phone operator at Mrs. Baird’s Bakery, where he also worked. The two started chatting at a company event at Baird’s Farm, and he asked her out. They married Jan. 28, 1950.
Emma was convinced she didn’t want children when they first married. However, after a few years, she decided she wanted one little girl. In 1956, her one little girl — Patrice Elaine — was born, on Jan. 11, 1956.
Bo continued working for Mrs. Baird’s, which moved the family around Texas and Louisiana. They settled in Victoria, Texas, in 1961, the year Hurricane Carla hit Galveston. They later lived in Dallas, Garland, New Orleans and Shreveport before finally settling in Burleson.
Emma worked on and off after Patrice was born, but she was never one to stay idle. She was part of a bowling league with three of her sisters, appropriately named “We are Family.” The weekly game was always followed by a lively lunch that included whatever children and grandchildren wanted to tag along.
She called bingo at a senior center and two McDonalds in Burleson, where she made many friends. She adopted the friends of her beloved family members. She never met a stranger and she was the life of every party – even when you weren’t having a party. If she was there, it became one.
Her home was always decorated for the holidays, especially Christmas, when her ceramic Christmas village took over her dining room.
She loved old movies, especially Doctor Zhivago and Gone With the Wind, which was also her favorite book. She would read it over and over and over again. She got to experience Gone With the Wind again with her granddaughters when it played at Ridglea Theater in 1989 for the 50th anniversary. She had a cabinet full of VHS tapes and would often see new movies at the theater with Patrice’s mother-in-law, Ruth Warren.
Emma traveled as much as she could. She tagged along when her sisters and husbands would take their own grandkids on vacation, a bonus Nanny to have dote on you. She took her oldest granddaughter and a friend to San Antonio. She made summer trips with her daughter, son-in-law and youngest granddaughter. She gambled in Las Vegas and Shreveport and would even put down a bet for you.
Her back patio, which was always covered in hanging baskets and planters, was a favorite spot to spend a summer morning, drinking coffee and chatting with her daughter. She had an almost obsessive love of taking care of her yard, which was always lush and green.
“If a leaf got in the yard, she was going to mow the whole damn yard,” Patrice remembered.
Emma was preceded in death by her husband, Raymond Allen; her brothers, Charlie, Joe and Roy Smith; and sisters, Margarite Lloyd, Louise Corbin, Bille Stallard, Nina Landrith and Ruby Woodard.
Survivors: Emma is survived by her daughter and husband, Patrice and Robert Warren, of Burleson; granddaughter, Staci Camacho, of Andover, Kan.; granddaughter and husband Holly and Ryan Rusak, of Fort Worth; granddaughters, Sofia and Olivia Camacho, of Andover, Kan.; a sister-in-law, Pat Allen, of DeQueen, Ark.; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and friends.