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Etty Allen, widow of George Allen, dies at age 90

  • By Associated Press
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RICHMOND, Va. -- Henriette "Etty" Allen, matriarch of a famed American football family, widow of former Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Rams coach George Allen and mother of Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, has died. She was 90.

According to a statement from the Allen family, she died Jan. 2 after a long illness. A private funeral is planned for Tuesday in California.

The daughter of anti-Nazi resistance fighter Felix Lumbroso, she lived in occupied Tunisia during World War II. After the war, she immigrated to Sioux City, Iowa, where she met and married George H. Allen, then the head football coach at tiny Morningside College.

Over the next four decades, Allen coached winning teams with the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins and earned a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He died in 1990.

She was also the mother of former Virginia Gov. George F. Allen.

Etty Allen was a stabilizing force in a family in which football preoccupied not only her husband but their three sons, George, Bruce and Gregory, according to a book written by her only daughter, Jennifer Allen, and published in 2000.

In the book, "Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter," Jennifer Allen described a bond she developed with her mother that was strengthened by their inability to crack the football fraternity the men in the family enjoyed.

Yet her mother was an avid and enthusiastic football wife and mom who could harangue opposing teams and game referees with language almost as colorful as that used in the locker rooms.

Though her husband was a friend of President Richard Nixon, it was her son George who diversified the family name when he entered the political arena.

His 1993 upset over a heavily favored Democrat in Virginia's 1993 gubernatorial election triggered the most extensive Republican expansion in Virginia since Reconstruction. Seven years later, Allen unseated Democratic Sen. Chuck Robb.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

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