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Frances Allen

Obituary of Frances Elizabeth Allen

Dr. Frances Elizabeth "Fran" Allen died in Schenectady, NY on August 4, 2020, the day of her 88th birthday. She was a resident of Kingsway Arms Memory Care Facility having had a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Fran was born August 4, 1932 on the family farm of her parents, John and Ruth (Downs) Allen; the first of six children. For first grade she walked a mile each way to the Calkins one room school house. She next went to the newly opened Peru Central School graduating as Valedictorian in 1950. She received her bachelors in Math education from Albany State. She came back to Peru Central from Albany to teach math subjects for two years. For her masters, she went to the University of Michigan. It was there that she was recruited by IBM to work in the newly developing computer science field. She stayed with IBM for 45 years until retirement in 2002. Fran became an award-winning computer scientist and pioneer in the area of optimizing computers in programming and parellelization of processors. She was named IBM's first female fellow in 1989 and in 2006 she became the first female recipient of the A.M. Turing award, considered the Nobel Prize for computing. Her love for teaching remained with her and she did much work mentoring young people in her field. She was delighted to be named to the "wall of fame" in Peru Central School in 2009. Her latest recognition came only this summer when the name "Allen" in her honor was designated for the new initiative running the super collider in Switzerland, known as CERN. For many years Fran lived in Croton-on Hudson, NY. There she served her community as a long time member of the planning board. She served her parish as a lector. Surviving Fran are two brothers, Rev. Philip T. Allen of Indian Lake, NY and James W. Allen with his wife, Susan in Peru; sister, Catherine McKee of Schenectady, who was Fran's special caregiver during years of decline; seven nieces and nephews and a good number of their children and grandchildren. She was supported in many years of her career and long illness by a number of friends and collegues, most particularly, Jean and Carol. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by two brothers, Norbert and George. Her family will greet guests on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 from 10 to 11am at St. Augustine's Church in Peru. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 with her brother, Rev. Philip Allen, celebrating. Commital prayers and burial will follow in the family plot in St. Augustine's Cemetery. Arrangements are in the care of the Hamilton Funeral Home, 294 Mannix Road, Peru, 643-9055. To offer an online condolence, share a symbolic gesture, or share a photo in memory of Frances Allen please visit