Judith Allen

Judith N. Allen

1947 - 2022

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Obituary of Judith N. Allen

Judith (Judy) Novak Allen died on November 25, 2022 at Oaknoll, Iowa City, IA. With her husband, Eddie by her side. She was born in East St. Louis, IL to Steve and Julia Novak. Judy studied dancing from the age of 3 & ½, and continued to dance throughout her life. She attended Catholic Schools in East St. Louis through junior high school. Her family moved to Marshalltown, IA where she graduated from St. Mary’s High School. At St. Mary’s she was a cheerleader, prom queen, and choreographer for Amal and the Night Visitors. She attended Iowa State Teacher’s College for one year before transferring to the University of Oklahoma where she earned her BFA in Modern Dance. Judy was active all aspects of the Modern Dance concert dance. Judy then attended the University of North Carolina, Greensboro where she continued her dance education earning a MFA in Modern Dance. She was married at the Main Post Chapel at Fort Bragg, NC in 1970 to C. E. (Eddie) Allen, and they just celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary this past June. In 1972 Judy accepted a position at the University of Iowa where she began her 35 year span of teaching, choreographing, and administering dance in higher education. Starting as an Instructor of Modern Dance in the Women’s Physical Education Department where she continued for 15 years, becoming the U of Iowa’s first Full Professor of Dance. From the University of Iowa, Judy accepted a position at the University of Hawaii – Manoa, then to George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, and finally she became the Department Chair at California State University at Long Beach before retiring and returning to Iowa City, IA. Along the way, Judy was a tenured Full Professor at all of the institutions she served. She was a brilliant choreographer always willing to accept “cast of thousands” in her dances to insure that her students had the opportunity to perform in major concerts. Notable works from her Iowa days included “That All American Game”, “Swing, Swing, Swing” which she notated and shared with dance departments across the nation. She collaborated with her colleagues in the dance and music departments to help produce “Lemon Cinders” and other major works for the Dance Gala’s in Hancher Auditorium. While at the University of Hawaii she created a work for their Kennedy Center’s 25th season titled “The Anniversary Waltz” coordinating with Music Professor Armand Russell and 25 married couples from the community who had been married at least 25 years. It was a spectacular, show stopping finale to a great college dance concert. Judy served the national college dance scene as the Treasurer, Vice President, and President of the American College Dance Festival, helping to grow that organization’s presence and prestige throughout the nation. Judy loved musicals, Broadway, the West end in London, and the Chicago theatre scene. We went whenever there was time and money. She loved tap dancing and after a slow start at the Iowa City Senior Center she had a wonderful following of “kids of all ages (seniors of course) taking her tap classes! As if that weren’t enough she loved to travel, cruise with the Garrison Keillor bunch all over Europe, and visit with friends and relatives across the country. Judy was a really good bowler in her day, loved to play bridge and enjoyed the shows and casinos in Las Vegas. She is survived by her husband, Eddie and her brother, Gary Novak and his wife Michelle of Marshalltown, IA and her family. Memorial donations may be made to the University of Iowa’s School of Music Percussion Ensemble, the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, the Cancer Center at the University of Iowa, the Iowa City Hospice or the University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. A memorial service will be held at a later date and will be announced. The Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service is attending the family. I (Eddie) am thankful for and grateful to Iowa City Hospice nurses and the staff at Oaknoll Short Term Nursing Care, as well as the Cancer Center Clinical Trial professionals who attended Judy throughout her journey with cancer.