Doing Somebody Some Good
John Maury “Jack” Allin was born April 22,1921, in Helena, Arkansas to Richard and Dora Allin. They lived with his grandparents who attended St. John’s Episcopal Church, but Jack spent his early years at the Baptist Church, which his mother attended. He went along for Sunday school until he was around ten years old. It was about then that he remembered a Sunday school encounter with a teacher who asked him about whether he had been saved or baptized. Feeling distressed by her question, Jack asked his mother if she would arrange with the choir mistress at St. John’s for him to visit the Episcopal Church. From then on, he sang in the choir with his school pals until their voices began to crack and they were old enough to assume the duties of an acolyte. Even at a young age, Allin said he was drawn to the ritual, the vestments the priests wore, and the formality of the worship at St. John’s. He was ordained there, and both he and his wife Ann were baptized, confirmed, and married there. Throughout his life, he always considered St. John’s his home church.
High School “Deacon”
Allin had a reputation as a good-natured teenager with a habit for volunteering and attending church regularly. Priding himself on having a “genial disposition,” Allin welcomed the nickname “Deacon” as a young man. He was a proud member of Delta Sigma Fraternity, but he did not neglect his academic studies at Helena High School, becoming a member of the National Honor Society. Allin showed a keen interest in others beyond his circle and while in high school he engaged in community service organizations and activities. Jack related as an adult that he felt a commitment from an early age to find a path that would lead to making a positive contribution to society. When asked for a yearbook comment about his future ambitions, he replied, “to do somebody some good.” Foreshadowing his career as a preacher, Allin was selected to deliver the invocation at his graduation.