On the morning of Jan. 17, my wonderful Dad, Allen died unexpectedly at his home in Sonora. He lived a vibrant, vital and happy life to the last day.

Once asked to name his favorite holiday, he replied, “my birthday”! Having reached the age of 93, he was still looking forward to many more.

Born in Los Angeles in 1924 to Clyde and Vivian Shrode, he was a third-generation Californian. At the age of 5, his mother, a former movie star of the Silent Film era, took him to the jungles of Columbia to join his father working in the oil fields. The family moved to Alameda, California, where he attended public school. After graduation he joined the Army Air Corps serving in the Philippines at the end of WWII and was later part of the Occupation Forces in Japan.

After the war, while working a summer job for the Curry Company in Yosemite Valley, Allen met his future wife, (my mom) Mary Jane Howard.

After a career as a route truck driver, soda shop owner, car salesman, gas station operator, etc., he retired at 56, sold their home, packed a 28-foot trailer and traveled the U.S, Canada and Mexico for several years. Granddaughter Tami said she was blessed with two of the most loving and fun grandparents any kid could have.

Allen and Mary settled in Sonora in 1986 and continued traveling, camping and fishing until Mary’s passing in 2001. Allen then joined the senior fitness class that he led twice weekly with the help of John Phillip Sousa marches.

Allen was helpful to his neighbors along with spreading the warmth of his ready smile and good cheer wherever he went including the Sunday visits to Unit 6 and Unit 7 care facilities in Sonora. He enjoyed his hugs from his favorite clerks at Walmart and Sonora Chinese.

There will be a casual gathering to celebrate Allen’s wonderful life at 1 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Tuolumne County Senior Center, 540 Greenley Road, Sonora 95370.