Obituary

Martha 'Moddie' Ryan Allen, US senator's legislative assistant, assistant to SEC chair, mother

Martha Allen (“Moddie”) died peacefully on April 6, 2022, in Burlington, Vermont, at the age of 93.

She was predeceased by her loving husband of 69 years, Colonel Walter Gordon Allen, Ret.,  in December of 2019.

She is survived by her five children: Mary Zebrowski (“Mimi”) of Erie, Pennsylvania; Gordon Allen of New York City; J. Riley Allen of Montpelier, Vermont; Margaret Joshua (“Maggie”) of Fairfax, Virginia; and Kathryn Allen (“Katie”) of Alexandria, Virginia.

Moddie was raised in Washington, DC and moved to Vermont with her husband in 2014. (Her father, Daniel Joseph Ryan, hailed from Fairfield, Vermont.)  For the last 7 years she has resided at The Converse Home on Church Street. (Gratitude to The Converse Home and their fine staff for her high-quality care and her enjoyment of life during those final years.) Moddie spent the previous decades living in Arlington, Virginia; Osprey, Florida; Montpelier, Vermont; and then Bethany Beach, Delaware.  For 25 years, as the wife of a career Army military officer, Moddie moved frequently within the US and Germany.

Moddie attended Georgetown Visitation Junior College in Washington, DC and later received a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University after raising her five children.  She went on to earn a law degree in 1982 and served as a legislative assistant to former U.S. Senator Claude Pepper from Florida.  She also worked as a realtor and as a personal assistant to the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Moddie was a devout Catholic and an independent spirit (sometimes the two seemed in conflict, but not to her).

Our mother seemed happiest when with her immediate and extended family or her lifelong school friends.  She loved learning and playing card games, especially bridge.  She found joy in gardening, she had an infectious laugh, and she loved others poking fun at her quirks.  Due to a college and theater friendship with the book author William Peter Blatty, she managed to get herself, all her kids, and even the family dog, included as “extras” in the background of the popular movie “The Exorcist.”  Moddie had natural grace and beauty.  She was the center of any gala event due to her endearing personality and her natural love of people, life, and laughter.   She was forever young.

A funeral service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in early 2023.


Family Information

She was predeceased by her loving husband of 69 years, Colonel Walter Gordon Allen, Ret.,  in December of 2019.

She is survived by her five children: Mary Zebrowski (“Mimi”) of Erie, Pennsylvania; Gordon Allen of New York City; J. Riley Allen of Montpelier, Vermont; Margaret Joshua (“Maggie”) of Fairfax, Virginia; and Kathryn Allen (“Katie”) of Alexandria, Virginia.


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