NORMAN — Joe Mike Allen, 68, died Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Norman. He was born Nov. 21, 1944, in Shawnee to Ruby Lee and John Allen.
Memorial services will be 2 p.m. Saturday at the First Baptist Church, 211 W. Comanche St. in Norman.
When he was in elementary school, his family moved from Shawnee to Moore. Joe Mike graduated in 1964 from Moore High School, where he had been active in Future Farmers of America and played on the football team. He later attended Murray State, where he received a football scholarship. In 1974, Joe Mike married Betty Jane Brandon, his childhood friend.
In addition to special times spent with his family, Joe Mike enjoyed fishing, working on his farm, drag racing, making friends and doing whatever he could to help others. In his younger days, he competed nationally in drag racing with funny cars and dragsters. Cars, trucks and collecting tractors turned into his life-long hobby.
Joe Mike was never afraid of hard work. His first job at 13 was working his family farm. Joe went on to start Allen Propane Gas Service, his first taste of being an entrepreneur.
After marrying Betty, he decided to try the dairy farming business. Wisely, Joe learned he could make a better living by planting sod over the old dairy farm. So in the late 1980s, Joe founded Allen Farms, which he grew from a small retail outlet to a huge commercial operation. He installed miles of sod across Oklahoma, making many friends along the way.
Other career accomplishments include owning a 350-acre onion farm in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and bringing the first mechanical onion harvester to the region. Across 2,000 Oklahoma acres, Joe had a cow-calf operation, selling calves at the Oklahoma City Stockyards cattle market.
Joe was a member of Oklahoma Sod Producers, Oklahoma Cattleman’s Association, First Baptist Church of Norman and a former Goldsby city board member. He was most proud of his family receiving the Cleveland County Farm Family of the Year award in 1984.
Joe Mike was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his wife, Betty of Norman; his children Shyla Slay and husband John of Oklahoma City, Michael Williams of Stillwater and Mitch Allen of Las Vegas; and his brother, Pete Allen of Moore. He dearly loved his grandchildren Taylyr Williams, Amee Williams, Jason Radomski, Jack Slay and Caroline Slay and great-granddaughter, Makyna Williams. Other survivors include his niece, Debbie Hasser and her husband Dale of Moore; and an amazing group of employees he considered family.
The Allen family will greet friends from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Havenbrook Funeral Home.
Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist “Ignite” Building Campaign, 211 W. Comanche St., Norman, OK 73069.
Arrangements for Joe and his family were placed in the care of the Vice family at Havenbrook Funeral Home.
Online condolences may be shared at www.havenbrookfuneralhome.com.
Norman Transcript, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013