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Retired jeweler Evelyn Allen passes away at age 102
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Manteca jeweler Evelyn Allen was a one woman “chamber of commerce” for Manteca’s downtown for many years.  She died this week at 102 at her Manteca home, leaving many with memories of purchasing special gifts at her store.

Mrs. Allen’s friendly demeanor in caring for her customers was evident in her successful business serving the many Manteca families who consulted her in everything from mothers’ rings to birth stones and wedding bands.

Evelyn Allen could make a young man feel like he was her only customer as he shopped for an engagement ring to offer in proposing to his sweetheart.  She had a way about her that could touch the heart better than a Hallmark card in her Yosemite Avenue store.  When Mantecans were in need of fine jewelry from the mid-‘40s until she sold it to Jan Brown in 1988, she was always behind the counter with a sparkle in her eye for anyone venturing  through her front door.

She was born in Stockton in 1908, the city that was also the birthplace of her parents.  She graduated from Union Island Grammar School and was the lone student in the eighth grade.  Evelyn graduated from Tracy High School in 1927 and attended the Munson Private Secretarial School in San Francisco.  

She and Boyd Allen were married in 1931. They went into the theater business with movie houses in Tracy, El Centro and Boulder Creek.  At the end of World War II in 1945 they bought an old building in downtown Manteca from Frank Marchitelli and opened a jewelry store when the community had only 3,500 residents.

It was in 1959 that they built a new building replacing their original location with the modern structure that would remain the business front for some 50 years.  

In 1975 Jan Brown was hired and an expansion of the store moved forward as the shop remained open for business during the construction.  A dividing wall was removed and the store doubled in size.  

Mrs. Allen retired in 1988 with Jan Brown carrying on with the reputation she had developed within the community.  On her 90th birthday 12 years ago, she still continued to do volunteer work at Doctors Hospital of Manteca as well as at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and its Nearly New Shop.

She was a charter member and past president of the Soroptimist Club of Manteca where she held a coveted 100 per cent attendance.  She was known for continually preparing meals for families that had lost a loved one and had shelves full of cook books.  Evelyn Allen was also a staunch supporter of the Manteca Historical Society and Museum as well as Camellia Gardens that she called home.

At 90, she continued to seek out ways where she could be of help to a friend or to a stranger.  Mrs. Allen was slow to admit that she saw herself having to slow down in her routines, adding that she would continue to help others as long as she was able.

“Eventually, I’ll have to stop one day,” she was quoted as saying. “That’s life.”