Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2007

Community mourns loss of volunteer, former mayor

September 27, 2007

Described as a devoted family man who was always willing to help anybody in need, Basehor resident Allen Goens left behind a wealth of family, friends and community members who truly will miss him.

The 72-year-old former Basehor mayor and city council president died Sept. 20, in his home after a two-year battle with Mesothelioma.

Although he was born Jan. 4, 1935, in Kansas City, Kan., friends and family said he was definitely a "Basehor boy" enjoying most of his years in Basehor including 45 of those years with his wife Judy Goens.

"He was selfless," Judy Goens said. "He was a man that would do anything for anybody. He just wanted to give, give, give his whole life."

Also survived by his son Michael Goens; two daughters, Lisa Brown and Lesley McAfee; two grandchildren Monica and Sam, who knew him as "Grampy;" and sister Patricia Rogers, Michael Goens said family was his father's top priority and he never missed a game or a dance recital.

"He never let family take a back seat to work," Michael Goens said. "His kids and his wife were first priority for him."

Known for his mechanical talent, Goens could fix just about anything, according to family and friends, and particularly enjoyed working on cars and trucks in his spare time. He had four vehicles that he had fully restored from barely running to valuable antiques in his collection. Michael Goens said he also remembers being in the garage with his father on numerous occasions while he checked out friends' and neighbors' troubled cars and trucks.

"He was always generous with his time," Michael Goens said. "If someone called needing something anytime day or night, he was ready to rush out and be there for anyone."

Neighbors and friends Don and Joyce Mayberry as well as Ed and Lois Fulkerson were among those that appreciated Allen's generous nature.

Building a trailer and staircase for the city's recycling facility and taking the aluminum cans to the recycling center was just one of the civil responsibilities he took on, Don Mayberry remembers. He also was a member of the Basehor Lions Club, Basehor Booster Club, a coach for little league baseball, a volunteer for high school football games as well as other community events. Residents nominated him Citizen of the Year in 1997.

Getting the job done and getting it done correctly in all aspects of his life were major traits people remember about him.

"He was just quality minded," Joyce Mayberry said. "He took things pretty seriously all around, but he had a good sense of humor and he could laugh. He was a highly respected neighbor who quickly became a cherished friend. We just loved him. You could count on him."

His desire to help others carried over into his professional life as well. As a senior sheet metal fabricator for Trans World Airlines for 42 years, those who worked with him remember him as a knowledgeable, hard worker.

During Allen's stint as mayor from 1979 to 1981, Lois Fulkerson said she can remember him plowing snow off the streets of Basehor in the middle of the night and being the first one at the scene of a water main break when he served as chairman of the board for Consolidated Water District No. 1 beginning in 1996.

"The water district had so much improvement under him," Lois Fulkerson said. "It just flourished. It received most improved system in the state of Kansas during that time and it was all due to his leadership. He was just an awesome person."

The line of people wishing to pay their respects to Allen and his family extended from Holy Angels Catholic Church to the street during the visitation Sunday evening.

Don Mayberry said he was asked to lead the funeral procession from the church to Allen's final resting place after Monday morning's services, but wanted to give his friend and neighbor one last tour of the city before saying goodbye. In a 1935 GMC truck that Allen had restored, Mayberry lead the group to Kansas Highway 7, south to U.S. Highway 24-40 and north up 155th Street before heading west on Leavenworth Road towards Holy Angels Cemetery.

An entry written by Lois Fulkerson on an online memorial guestbook sums up the community's love and appreciation for Allen Goens:

"There will never be another like Allen. He had a heart as big as the world and would do anything for anybody and never once ask for acknowledgement or the favor to be returned. That's why God gave him the largest set of wings -- he is everyone's angel."

The obituary for Allen Goens may be viewed on page 8A.

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