Freeport - Berla Avis Allen, 90, of Ware Road in Freeport passed away on April 23, 2013 while surrounded by her loving family. She was born September 6, 1922 in Calais, Maine to John Patrick and Berla Avis (McCoubrey) O’Neill. She was an independent Maine woman who was proud of her Scottish and Irish heritages. Her father died when she was eleven and her mother took over his job as school janitor to support their eight children. Times were tough in the Great Depression so Berla went to work to help provide for her younger siblings. She washed dishes at Gem Restaurant, and clerked at Woolworths and JJ Newberry. 1939 was an important year for the sixteen year old. She graduated from Calais Academy, managed the Mary Jane Restaurant and met her future husband Kenneth “Diddy” Allen.

They were married at Diddy’s church, the Baptist Church in Milltown, Maine on March 5, 1941   and their daughter Jacqueline was born the next June. The US Navy sent Diddy to the South Pacific during World War II and Berla stayed in Calais with Jackie until the war ended. Diddy returned home but jobs were hard to find in Calais so they moved to Freeport where Berla’s sister was living. Berla worked waitressing and then their daughter Kim was born in 1957. The Allens became active in the community and began to consider Freeport as their new hometown. Both girls graduated from Freeport High School. 

They moved to Presque Isle for new job opportunities when Kim was in elementary school and lived there for 2 years while Berla worked at Converse Shoe and Diddy worked at Herman Shoe. They moved to Yarmouth and then home to Freeport. Berla worked at Freeport Shoe, ran the snack bar at the Freeport Trading Post, and was a data entry supervisor at LL Bean until she retired in 1984.

Berla and Diddy were inseparable. He played town team baseball and had a band. She attended all his games and the dances where she loved to hear him play guitar and sing. She was an avid Red Sox fan and also cheered for the Celtics. Berla knew the players and was anxious to tell you whether they were any good or not. Sunday afternoon dinners with her grandchildren were something she enjoyed. She and Diddy spent several winters in Florida after they retired. She was previously active in Eastern Star and in later years attended church services at Durham Congregational and North Yarmouth Congregational. 

She was predeceased by her all her siblings and in 2005 by her husband Diddy. Berla is survived by her daughter Jacqueline Brown of Pownal and Jackie’s sons Eric Brown and his wife Melanie of South Carolina and Kevin Brown of Pownal; her daughter Kim Merrill and her husband Lincoln of North Yarmouth and their daughters Erinn Tardiff and her husband Heath of North Yarmouth, Tara Merrill and her fiancé Dustin Goodell of Yarmouth, and Chelsey Merrill of North Yarmouth. She is also survived by six great grandchildren; Cameron, Morgan, Taylor, and Tyson Brown, Haley Brown and her fiancé Eric Christie, and Allyson Tardiff. 

A funeral service will be held on Saturday May 4th at 1 p.m. at the First Parish Congregational Church, 422 Hallowell Road in Pownal, Maine.  A reception will follow in the church hall. Burial will be in the Burr Cemetery in Freeport at a later date.  Please visit to view a video collage of Berla’s life and to share condolences, memories and tributes with her family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Berla’s memory to: First Parish Congregational Church, 422 Hallowell Road, Pownal, Maine 04069.