Centenarian a trailblazer, may be record holder as well

Centenarian a trailblazer, may be record holder as well
Mada Allen, oldest Kappa Delta sorority sister, celebrates her 104th birthday.

Mada Allen’s eyes were misty as she listened intently to the old familiar words of her Kappa Delta (KD) sorority song.

Always think of KD when you hear this melody.
We’ll be wishing you goodnight in sleepy harmony.
May your days all be bright ones, may your cares all be light ones,
Tonight while moonlight beams.
So dream tonight of Kappa Delta, we will dream of you.
And when daylight comes again, our love will still be true.
So whisper goodnight dear, in stillness may you hear,
our Kappa Delta song of dreams.

Surrounded and serenaded by KD sisters from her alma mater, Florida State University, as well as women and girls from other KD Chapters, including the University of North Florida, Allen celebrated her 104th birthday on September 6, with memories, champagne, cake, laughter and tears.

A resident of Arbor Terrace San Jose Senior Living Community, Allen, who graduated from Florida State University in 1934, may be the oldest living KD sorority sister in the U.S.

“We are currently submitting an application to the Guinness Book of World Records,” said Corrine Eubanks, executive director of Arbor Terrace San Jose.

“There were nearly 40 Kappa Deltas there to celebrate their oldest sister’s birthday,” said Mike Kaminski, Arbor Terrace San Jose engagement director. “Miss Mada had them enthralled with her memories of days gone by.”

Reminding them that Florida State University was a girl’s college back in the 1930s and had strict rules against girls getting in cars with boys, Allen talked of a time when she and some sorority sisters nearly took a ride with some boys but their house mother walked by on the other side of Capital Street just as they were about to get in.

In addition to a party room filled with staff and sorority sisters, family members, including Allen’s son, Bob Brann, and his wife, Jackie, were also on hand for the birthday celebration. Coincidentally, both Allen and her daughter-in-law, Jackie, taught at Hendricks Elementary School for many years, and one of Allen’s students also attended the party.

“I was in my mother’s fifth grade class at Hendricks and all of my friends thought it was going to be a real grin for me,” recalled Brann. “Not!”

Proudly noting that his mother was known as a teacher who expected nothing less than excellence, Brann said he experienced that expectation first-hand during his fifth-grade year and throughout his life.

“Former students have always come up to my mother in the grocery store and elsewhere…all so appreciative of what she did to guide them on the right path,” he said.

Brann also noted that his mother was president of the Pilot Club in Jacksonville at one time, and was also an astute businesswoman who blazed a trail as the first female salesperson for Florida Power and Light back when they were selling home appliances.

“She’s had a wonderful life and made a big difference for many,” said her daughter-in-law, Jackie Brann. “The people at Arbor Terrace San Jose just love her. Everybody does.”
When Kaminski was ready to take her back to her room, he inquired, “Miss Mada, is there anything you’d like to say?’’

With a queenly wave to all present, the 104-year-old Kappa Delta looked around, smiled, and said, “Thank you for the best birthday ever!”

By Susan D. Brandenburg
Resident Community News

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