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White House butler to 8 presidents dies at 90

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served presidents from Harry Truman through Ronald Reagan, has died. He was 90.

Allen died of renal failure Wednesday at a hospital in Takoma Park, Md., The Washington Post reported Friday.

Allen, who was black, started at the White House in 1952, when racial segregation prohibited him from using public restrooms in his native state of Virginia. When he left the White House in 1986 after 34 years, he had witnessed not only defining moments in the country's history, but also in America's civil rights movement.

And on Jan. 20, 2009, he watched Barack Obama being sworn in as the nation's first black president.

"I never would have believed it," Allen told the Post from his seat at the inauguration. "In the 1940s and 1950s, there were so many things in America you just couldn't do. You wouldn't even dream that you could dream of a moment like this."

Allen began washing dishes and stocking cabinets at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. before rising to maitre d' during Reagan's presidency.

He crossed paths with entertainers including Sammy Davis Jr., Duke Ellington and Elvis Presley. He met Martin Luther King Jr., traveled to Romania with President Richard Nixon, and had a seat at the table as a guest at one of Reagan's state dinners.

Although first lady Jacqueline Kennedy invited him to President John F. Kennedy's funeral, Allen volunteered to stay at the White House to help with the meal after the service. She gave him one of the president's ties, which Allen framed.

Born July 14, 1919, in Scottsville, Va., Allen shared the same birthday as President Gerald Ford and joined in Ford's birthday parties at the White House.

Allen lived in Washington. His wife of 65 years, Helene, died in 2008. He is survived by his son Charles, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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It must have been a very fulfilling life.

"Eternal repose grant to him, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen." (F)


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It must have been a very fulfilling life.

"Eternal repose grant to him, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen." (F)

Yes it must of been. Just think of the United States History that great american saw in his lifetime. May he rest is peace

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Yes it must of been. Just think of the United States History that great american saw in his lifetime. May he rest is peace

Very well put.


Our journey together on this earth has come to an end.

I will see you one day again, my love.

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And on Jan. 20, 2009, he watched Barack Obama being sworn in as the nation's first black president.

"I never would have believed it," Allen told the Post from his seat at the inauguration. "In the 1940s and 1950s, there were so many things in America you just couldn't do. You wouldn't even dream that you could dream of a moment like this."

For older generations who remember segregation, a black president probably seemed farfetched.


David & Lalai

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Greencard Received Date: July 3, 2009

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For older generations who remember segregation, a black president probably seemed farfetched.

During my much shorter lifetime, I can remember when Jesse Jackson campaigned for the Democratic nomination during the 1980s how impossibly out of reach such a quest seemed! The fact that we have a sitting African American president today is indeed a remarkable achievement for the USA.

(F) for Eugene Allen on a life well lived.

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During my much shorter lifetime, I can remember when Jesse Jackson campaigned for the Democratic nomination during the 1980s how impossibly out of reach such a quest seemed! The fact that we have a sitting African American president today is indeed a remarkable achievement for the USA.

Jackson was never able to appeal to wider group of Americans by focusing on his being black while looking for a coalition of marginalized groups. Obama didn't make race a central part of this campaign. A lot of the older people from 20 years ago that wouldn't vote for black man for president probably died off.


David & Lalai

th_ourweddingscrapbook-1.jpg

aneska1-3-1-1.gif

Greencard Received Date: July 3, 2009

Lifting of Conditions : March 18, 2011

I-751 Application Sent: April 23, 2011

Biometrics: June 9, 2011

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