Willene Allison was born in Colfax, WA on October 9, 1925 to Greek immigrant parents, Chris and Theodora Delegans. She was the eighth of ten children and grew up on the family farm in Penawawa, WA.
Education was very important in the Delegans family. A favorite story of Willene’s was how she skipped a grade in elementary school by finishing her lessons in the two-room Penawawa schoolhouse and then keeping up with the older children in the next higher grade. The family bought a boarding house in Pullman, WA, where she graduated from Pullman High School, and attended Washington State College (now WSU). Her father would come to Pullman on Wednesdays and Saturdays to bring the family eggs and milk from the farm, and the family would return to work on the Penawawa farm in summers.
Willene moved to Spokane with several of her sisters where she worked for the Office of Price Administration, which provided price stabilization during World War II. Being adventurous, she and her sister Georgia moved to Los Angeles in 1946. In Los Angeles, Willene worked as an administrative assistant for a well-known motion picture agent with the M.C. Levee Agency. She met many famous movie stars of that era.
Back in Spokane, in 1955 she married Paul J. Allison, who became a prominent member of the law firm of Randall Danskin, P.S., and later counsel for Walt Worthy and the historic Davenport Hotel.
Willene was a lifetime member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and was a member of the Greek Orthodox Ladies of Philoptochos Society. She served as president of the Spokane County Bar Auxiliary, the Women of Rotary of Spokane Valley, and the Gershwin Chapter of the Spokane Symphony Associates (formerly the “Spokane Symphony Women’s Association”). She served on the SSA board, and worked for many years on the Symphony’s fundraising event “Christmas Tree Elegance.” She and Paul were active in the Spokane Jaycees.
Willene and Paul traveled the world extensively. Thought by many to be one of the great hostesses of all time, she and Paul opened their home to family, friends, and community; all were welcomed and treated to unparalleled hospitality. She touched many lives and always made everyone feel loved and welcome.
Willene was preceded in death by her parents, Chris and Theodora Delegans, her husband, Paul, son Peter Allison, and her siblings Sophia, Virgil, Helen, Anastasia, Mary, Georgia, Jim and Bill.
She is survived by her brother George Delegans (Alexandra); sister-in-law Mary Lou Delegans; children Barbara Schmedding (Dave) of Spokane Valley, and Theodore Allison (Sophia) of Washington D.C.; her grandchildren Jennifer Kelson (Rand) of Spokane Valley, Jeff Schmedding (Kristine) of Auburn, Alabama, Daniel Schmedding, Spokane Valley; great grandchildren Griffin Schmedding and Randilyn Kelson of Spokane Valley, Jack and Blake Schmedding of Auburn, Alabama; Goddaughter Elizabeth Towns (Eric) of Cary, N.C., and numerous nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly.
She will be remembered as a wonderful mother, sister, aunt, great aunt, Yiayia (Greek for Grandmother) and Great Yiayia. Her youngest great grandchildren fondly called her simply “Great.”
A funeral will be held (subject to Covid-19 restrictions) at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on Friday, May 7th. Burial will follow at Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Holy Trinity Greek Church and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
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