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Florence A. Allen, retired welfare case manager

June 27, 1943 – Feb. 3, 2016

Her loved ones referred to Florence Allen as the matriarch of their family.

“She was our matriarch. She was the person who always stayed in touch with everyone and was always helping others out, always calling people to see how they were,” recalled one of Mrs. Allen’s nieces, Jillmarie Giardina. “She enjoyed the simplest things in life, like making a meal for her family, or just having a family member or a friend over to have a cup of coffee.”

Mrs. Allen, a retired welfare case manager from the Erie County Department of Social Services, died in Kenmore Mercy Hospital after a short illness. The Town of Tonawanda resident was 72. A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the chapel at Forest Lawn, Buffalo.

Known for her sense of humor and her love of cooking, the former Florence Varco grew up on Buffalo’s West Side, in a neighborhood where about 50 of her first cousins all lived within a few blocks of each other.

She graduated from Grover Cleveland High School early, at age 15, and then studied at the old St. Mary’s Business School. She worked as a case worker and case manager in the county’s Social Services Department for more than 30 years before retiring in 1999 to care for her elderly parents. She stayed in touch with a number of her former co-workers until the time of her death.

Mrs. Allen’s husband, Robert Allen, died in 1991. She is survived by two sisters, Christine Giardina and Annette Beaver, and a brother, Charles Varco.