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Former White House butler gets a warm send-off

April 9, 2010 |  4:50 pm


Eugene Allen, who served as a White House butler from the days of Harry S. Truman to Ronald Reagan, died March 31 at 90. Wil Haygood wrote the obituary of Allen for the Washington Post, and this week he followed up with a report from Allen's funeral on Thursday.

Among the speakers at the service were family and friends:

Allen's son, Charles, stood at a lectern and shared a memory: "My father came home late on the day that President Kennedy had been shot. But then he got up and put his coat back on. He said, 'I've got to go back to work.' But in the hallway, he fell against the wall and started crying. That was the first time in my life I had ever seen my father cry."

The Rev. Winston C. Ridley Jr., who officiated, said Allen "was there during the declaration of wars, the desegregation of schools. All the while walking among the presidents and carrying food and drinks with a quiet dignity. He was there during the events that would change the course of history."

Click here to read the rest of Haygood's story. The Post's full obituary on Allen is here.

-- Claire Noland

Photo: Eugene Allen with Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Credit: Allen family photo