Allen Family Biography
The Frank Phillips College Allen Campus is named in honor of the Jack and Rita Allen family. Jack and Rita Allen, as well as generations before and after them, have long been proponents of education and progress in this corner of rural Texas. The Allen Campus would not be possible without their generosity and at their request the true focus of the name “Allen Campus” is to rest with Jack and Rita’s parents, who were long time Ochiltree County residents and supporters.
Jack was born in Perryton, where he attended school and graduated from Perryton High School. After serving in the United States Army and the Ninth Air Force in the European Theater during World War II, Jack received a law degree from the University of Texas. He returned to Perryton to practice law and actively worked on numerous civic committees, including the Perryton ISD school board and the Texas Association of School Boards. Using his background in law, Jack became involved in the oil business. He worked as president of Independent Petroleum Association of America for two years on various national, state, and local energy issues.
Rita graduated from Sonora High School. She received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Texas. She and Jack were married in 1947. In Perryton, she volunteered with the First United Methodist Church and civic organizations, such as PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) and the Jennie June Club, to help make the town an excellent place to live and raise her family. They have four children, Kay Ferrell, Nancy Bowdre, Suzanne Willis, and Brent Allen.
Rita’s mother, Louise Howell, rode a horse to teach in a 1-room schoolhouse in rural Mississippi. She was later a homemaker. Rita’s father, Frank “Doc” Howell, practiced medicine as a general practitioner in Sonora, Texas. He served a widespread area of West Texas, making distant house calls. Since there was no hospital, he would often travel in the back of an ambulance to San Angelo or San Antonio with his patients.
Jack’s mother, Kathryn Allen, came to Perryton as a schoolteacher soon after it became a town. After marriage, she became a homemaker who worked hard volunteering for many different causes to help Perryton grow into a quality community. His father, Jack R., was the first male graduate of Ochiltree High School and later taught in several one-room rural schools in Ochiltree County. He studied law at the University of Texas, returned to practice law in Perryton, and later became District Judge for the 84th Judicial District, which included Ochiltree County.
Both sets of parents were heavily involved in their communities and made sacrifices to educate their children. Because they believed that higher education promotes progress for the area and a higher standard of living for those who strive to learn, they would be thrilled to see the progress being made in Perryton through the Frank Phillips College Allen Campus.