Joan Allen

Joan Maria Nelson Allen, 73, of West End, formerly of Carteret County, went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus at 10:19 a.m. Tuesday, April 6, 2021, after valiantly fighting the demon that is dementia since 2013. She was surrounded by her husband, daughter and son-in-law at First Health Hospice House in West End.

Her service is at 2 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church-Pinehurst, officiated by the Rev. Chuck Vickers. Joan will be buried in the Nelson plot at Atlantic Community Cemetery at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 17.

Born Dec. 13, 1947, in Beaufort, Joan prided herself on being a fisherman’s daughter. Growing up in Atlantic, she always considered herself a “down easterner” and was quick to point out exactly where Atlantic is: “It’s where Hwy 70 stops and the Atlantic Ocean begins.” Her father, John Eason Nelson Jr., besides being a professional fisherman, was a highly decorated World War II veteran. Her mother, Blanche Dawn Tallaksen Nelson, had a dual career as postmaster and nurse. Her only sibling, “John the III,” as he was affectionately called, was a nurse, as well.

Joan loved education. She earned a bachelor’s of science in biology from Wake Forest University, an Master of Education in counselor education from East Carolina University and completed doctoral work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She spent most of her career as a high school counselor, starting out at Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines and retiring from Pine Forest High School in Fayetteville.

Joan and David met April 1987 at a restaurant during a conference in New Bern. The maître d’ assumed these two strangers next in line were together. “Two for breakfast?” she said. Before David could invite Joan to join him, the maître d’ said, “Follow me.” And they did. A year later, April 23, 1988, the two love birds were married. Now, for more than three decades, they have followed each other to many meals and other adventures.

What an incredible wife, military spouse, mother, grandmother and loyal friend she was. Her magnetic personality and contagious smile would illuminate any room. Truly the world is a better place for Joan having been here. She will be sorely missed.

Joan is survived by her husband of 33 years, Dr. David Allen; daughter, Melissa Dawn; son-in-law, David; granddaughter, Lillian “Lilly” Maria; and loving cousin, Allen “Buddy” Nelson.

Her father, mother and brother preceded her in death.

Memorial donations may be given in Joan’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Services are entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines. Online condolences may be made at

(Paid obituary)

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