Sonny Allen

Carroll Wayne “Sonny” Allen, aged 81, passed away from complications of cancer on Saturday, January 22, 2022 at Baptist Hardin Health in Elizabethtown, KY. Sonny was born in either Hart or Hardin County, Kentucky (we’re not sure and he was the man with all the answers). His parents, Lola and Cook Allen, predeceased him, but have joyfully welcomed him into their boisterous and loving Allen Family gathering in Heaven, nestled with the siblings he tortured mercilessly in childhood, but always loved fiercely: Carolyn (Sissie) Allen Matherly, Jackie Allen, Jerry Allen, Candy Allen Brown, and Mark Allen. Much loved brother-in-law, Tommy Fulkerson, was there to greet him as well. God broke the mold with Sonny. To his numerous friends, most of whom were like family, he was one in a million and those who knew him well know that he was quite the character, yet had a heart of gold. Living in KY, GA, FL, and DC over the course of his life, he leaves friends far and wide. Actually, his friends were probably a little higher on his fun list than family much of the time, because he usually preferred spending his quality time with folks such as the Dog Creek Gang, his friends at State Dock, golfing buddies, auto industry friends, and pretty much anyone on or near a body of water, especially if it involved boats. Just kidding about the family thing . . . sort of . . . maybe . . . not really sure. To his family, he was our Papa, larger than life, a legend in the making who we all loved, respected, and . . . feared just a little bit at times. After all, he was the purveyor of the scariest stink eye east of the Mississippi. He kept us in line, but we all knew that his warning stare and bark were far worse than his bite. Like all of us, Sonny had his flaws, but was quite an accomplished man, and his greatest success was his family, thoroughly blended through love and loyalty. Sonny is survived by his amazing and loving wife of 31 years, Brenda Mattingly Allen, his person, his partner, and always his healthcare advocate. Also, he leaves behind four children, grateful he was our dad: Debra (Stephen) Ellis, Michael (Kimberly Hartman) Allen, Jason Stinson, and Blake (Alicia) Stinson; three grandchildren: Rachel (Zachary) Wilson, Emma Brooke Stinson, and Nolan Blake Stinson; and one great-grandson: William Ellis Wilson. Grieving his tremendous loss too are his three surviving sisters; Linda Fulkerson, Pamela (Michael) Bernard, and Tammy (Gary) Johnson; sisters-in-law, Diane Allen, Charlene (Greg) Stahl, Michelle Davis, and Marty (Bruce) Lyons; brothers-in-law, Bill Matherly and Kevin Mattingly; far too many nieces, nephews, and cousins to count at this moment; and his “Little Girl,” Izzie Claire. He loved us all. We are so thankful he is at peace and are trying to figure out how to move ahead without him. Sonny played football, baseball, and basketball for Elizabethtown High school and graduated in 1959, but only after moving around the local area for much of his young life and changing schools several times. His father, Cook, had an annoying knack for impulsively packing up his large family to move onto the next opportunity, often returning home from work at the end of a day to announce, “Mama, we’re movin’!” Having a strong work ethic and even stronger desire for money in his pockets, Sonny always had a job as a young man, from working in a rock quarry to dabbling in radio at the local station, WIEL. In 1960, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Andrews AFB in Washington, D.C. His interest in airplanes resulted in him earning a twin engine prop pilot’s license, toying with helicopters, and several private and commercial flying jobs over the years, including a job flying the real Colonel before Kentucky Fried Chicken ever became KFC, or so legend has it. Early on, Sonny became absolutely obsessed with vehicles of all types, especially cars, learning to drive at the ripe old age of 12 and becoming chauffeur to his non-driving mother, Lola, who needed to get to town somehow. All the while, Sonny would take advantage of every opportunity to target any puddle he could find to drive through and splash a sibling who may be walking to school at that exact moment (this fact has been well-documented in the family lore by offended parties). Eventually this interest led to a long-standing and legendary career in the automotive business from the 1970s to the present, as he built his reputation working for many dealerships. At some point in the 1990s, Sonny became a founding partner in Classic Auto Sales in Radcliff, which later led to Budget Car Sales and AutoSmart dealerships in Hardin, Taylor, and Grayson Counties. Recent health issues forced him into semi-retirement, but he proudly kept his irons in the fire and nose in the business with his trusted and loved partners: brother-in-law Mike Bernard; lifelong friends, Tony Malito, Stan Curry, Ken Vance; and his son, Blake Stinson. Sonny’s accomplishments don’t end there. He was the consummate amateur weatherman, always ready to bombard anyone who would listen with the latest forecast and HIS opinion on how it should affect YOUR plans. If on Nolin Lake, Lake Cumberland, or the Gulf of Mexico in one of his many boats, his personal radar was sure to include, “A little spot of sun, just over there. . ..” He was the ultimate Thermostat Police and Heaven forbid any unskilled hand touch it and lower it one degree. He had memorized every single highway mile marker from here to all points NSEW and would call you REPEATEDLY on any road trip, expecting you to pinpoint and report your status using said numbers. He was an expert catnapper, though he always insisted his eyes weren’t really closed. Speaking of eyes, the man had the longest and lushest lashes ever created, coveted by any woman who noticed. He acted as if that annoyed him, rolling his eyes when mentioned, but we all know he loved that attention. He was a world traveler, circling the Caribbean numerous times, traveling to Italy, France, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Alaska, and points in-between. He had many great adventures in his life, but there was no place in the world that made the man happier than good old Nolin Lake. His lifelong love of rock music, since its infancy in the 1950s, has been lovingly and sometimes forcefully instilled in his children and grandchildren, who had absolutely no choice in the matter. He attended his last rock concert (Bob Seger) with family in 2019 at the age of 79. Rock on, Papa! Something for which he was most proud was kicking cancer’s butt for 5+ years and helping others do the same. Diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma in 2015, he was one of the first trailblazing patients nationally to undergo a new immunotherapy treatment plan and was dedicated to doing his part to obliterate cancer. He did all he could and has earned his rest. He was a fighter, and we are proud of him for all he endured while remaining our ever positive and loving Papa Sonny. As you can probably tell by now, Sonny had an active social life that included many hobbies: boating, baseball, softball, boating, bowling, golf, boating, NASCAR, boating, beaches, reading (he was STILL holding out for another GoT book!), puzzles, boating, and his daily dose of Young & the Restless (go figure!). He loved University of Kentucky sports, was a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan, and had a lifelong love for his baseball heroes, The Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax and Duke Snyder (at 81, he was still mourning that baseball card, shredded by his sister, Sissie, in an act of well-deserved revenge). Many activities were enjoyed with his family OR he dragged us along, willingly or otherwise. Most of the time, it involved family time on the water, so we didn’t often need coercion. Sonny was a member of Grace Heartland Church. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, January 26, and again on Thursday morning, January 27, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The funeral service will begin at 11 a.m., followed by his burial at St. James Cemetery and an after party (aka Celebration of Life) at Room 62. If you plan to join us, no need for formal attire. Sonny wouldn’t expect it and, if you think he would, you probably didn’t know him well. If he had his way, he’d be in lake shorts and wearing his Sharky hat. Brown Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Expressions of sympathy can be made in Sonny’s name to St. James Catholic Church in Elizabethtown, United Way of Central Kentucky, or any charity that is close to your heart. Another suggestion to honor Sonny’s memory is to establish a weekly date night with your own family for Thirsty Thursday dinners, toasting him with a Silver Bullet or two. And DSB (Don’t Stop Believin’) . . . ever. Dad is up in Heaven right now, reading all this, firing off a particularly loaded stink eye, and one of his typical sarcastic responses, “You writin’ a book?!” Why, yes, Dad, this one time, perhaps we are indeed writin’ a book. Love you! DSB


Wednesday, January 26, 2022 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Brown Funeral Home


Thursday, January 27, 2022 starting at 11:00 AM
Brown Funeral Home

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