Thursday, January 10, 2013
Henriette “Etty” Allen, the widow of famed NFL coach George H. Allen and mother of Virginia politician George F. Allen, died of natural causes on Jan. 2 at her Palos Verdes Estates home, reported the Washington Post. She was 89.
Etty was the daughter of Eujenie and Felix Lumbroso. Her father, Felix, was a Jewish wine importer in Tunis. He was imprisoned during the Nazi occupation of Tunis during World War II.
After the war, Etty immigrated to the United States, initially living in Sioux City, Iowa. There she met and married George Allen, who was the head football coach at Morningside College, the Post said. Her husband knew of her Jewish heritage, but the couple decided to keep it a secret.
“I just didn’t want anyone to know,” she told the Post in 2006. The family secret was exposed during her son’s bid for re-election to U.S. Senate. The subject of Etty’s heritage came forward during a debate in Virginia, the Post reported. Sen. George F. Allen (R) denied his mother’s Jewish heritage during the debate, but later revealed he had learned the truth weeks before the debate but promised his mother he wouldn’t say anything.
George F. Allen lost his senatorial seat to Democrat Jim Webb.
Etty told the Post in 2006 that she wanted to protect her children from the fear she felt growing up Jewish in her Nazi-occupied homeland.
“What they put my father through,” she said. “I didn’t want my children to have to go through that fear all the time.”
She also told the Post she wanted to protect her husband’s coaching career. George H. Allen coached football for four decades, the Post said, earning a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
George H. Allen, who passed away in 1990, coached the Los Angeles Rams before his controversial firing in the late 1960s. Allen, the most successful coach in Rams’ history, went on to coach the Washington Redskins.
Etty and George’s son, Bruce, is currently the general manager of the Redskins.
Allen is survived by her four children: George F., Bruce, Greg and Jennifer. Greg is a psychologist in Palos Verdes Estates and founder of the nonprofit Freedom4U. Jennifer, a writer and former reporter for the NFL Network, also lives in Palos Verdes.
The Allen family will have a private funeral service for Etty.
Read more at the Palos Verdes News…