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Mardel Carol Allen

March 14, 2024 | 15 comments

Mardel Carol Allen, age 90, passed away at Riverside Transitional Care in La Crosse, Wisconsin on March 12, 2024 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mardel was born an only child on February 24,1934 in Davenport, Iowa to Detlef and Camilla (Kramer) Herzberg.  She attended Central High School in Davenport, Iowa from 1949 to 1951, and subsequently graduated from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education.

Mardel then began work as a music teacher in Davenport and during one summer break met her lifelong partner John Allen at Duck Creek Golf Course where they shared a round of golf and later a movie.  John always said he knew she was the one for him after holding her hand during the movie and feeling the calluses on her hand from playing golf!  John and Mardel married in Davenport on June 29, 1957.  After their two daughters Nancy and Janet were born, they moved to Grinnell, Iowa where their son Paul was born.  Mardel enjoyed golfing and continued competing in tournaments even while working and raising a family.

In 1972, her family relocated to La Crosse, Wisconsin where Mardel continued working as a music teacher – first at Lincoln Junior High School, then at Longfellow Junior High School, and eventually at Central High School from which she retired.  While at Central High School, Mardel directed the music for several music theater performances and led several musical groups including the Beauty Shoppers which performed throughout La Crosse.  She also coached the Central girls’ golf team to four Wisconsin state high school championships which led to her induction into the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin Hall of Fame in 2003.  Personally, Mardel was an accomplished golfer and continued to win many golf tournaments including the women’s club championship at La Crosse Country Club.

After Mardel retired to Sun City, Arizona, she shattered the women’s course record at Palmbrook Golf Club by four shots in 1997 and held the club champion title for many years.  Mardel served on the board of the Arizona Women’s Golf Association and became a USGA certified rules official.  She enjoyed card games.  Mardel taught Pinochle to her family and played Hand and Foot as well as mah-jongg with her Sun City friends.

Mardel continued her love of music, directing musical performances and a ladies’ barbershop quartet which performed throughout the Sun City area.   She also took up quilting, at which she was very accomplished.  She joined the Friendship Quilters club in Sun City and served as its president for several years.  Mardel lovingly created many quilts, wall hangings, and table runners which her family and friends will forever treasure.

Most importantly, Mardel was a kind, loving, and generous wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

She is survived by her husband John Allen, daughters Nancy Allen and Janet (David) Galassi, son Paul (Colleen) Allen, as well as granddaughters Elizabeth, Savannah, and Natalie Allen, grandson Jackson Allen, and great-granddaughter Juliet Mueller.

Mardel was preceded in death by her father and mother, Detlef and Camilla (Kramer) Herzberg, as well as her grandson David Allen.

A celebration of Mardel’s life will be held from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Saturday, March 30 at the First Congregational Church at 2503 Main Street in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Memorial contributions may be made to the United Fund for the Arts and Humanities ( in La Crosse.



  1. Jean seitz

    Mardel was a wonderful teacher and friend to our daughter Julie seitz. Julie was fortunate to also have Mardel for a golf coach and went to state with her. She
    Also had her for music at Lincoln jr high. Marcel’s daughter
    Was our neighbor on 22 nd drive and encouraged us to visit mardel when Julie was home for a visit. It was an
    Enjoyable time chatting with her and she remembered
    Julie. I also met her at a quilt show we were both attending
    In arizona. Great lady and friend to all!!?

  2. Pamela Strittmater

    Mardell was an amazing teacher. She taught so much about music and theatre, but most importantly, life. I went to Central from 1983-87. I sang in the choir, barbershoppers and was the box office manager for West Side Story my senior year. Thoughts and prayers to all that loved her. May the memories you have and stories you tell bring you comfort and peace.

    • James Kremenski

      Sorry for your loss john
      And family..

      • Louise Temte

        Mardel was a gracious and dynamic teacher. Our daughter Rachel was fortunate to have music theory from her at Central. She always had stories about what Mrs Allen had done to encourage her and all her students. Mardel was a shining light in all the lives she touched. With deep sympathy….

  3. Theresa Moore

    Mardell and her family brought a lot of life to 33rd Street, when they moved in. I befriended Nancy very quickly, and Mardell always made me feel so welcome in their home! It was always lively and very musical, which I loved and was intrigued by. Nancy, Janet and Paul, you were blessed with a beautiful mother, and I am sure she will be greatly missed! She touched many lives with her talents, and I pray for you all as you honor her, and go through your grief and loss. Treasure her memories and she will always be with you!

  4. Charles Moen

    A truly talented and “good” person, who will be missed. Privileged to have known her for 50+ years and benefitted from her talents. Our heartfelt sympathies to John and the family. Gretchen and Chuck Moen

  5. Mark Bell

    Mrs Allen was a great director. Sang in her Madrigal Singers group for 2yrs in H.S. I loved her as a director, a teacher and a friend. R.I.P. Mardell. You lived a long full life. Now you can golf whenever you like.. …

  6. Marc L. Zoerb

    I will forever remember Mrs. Allen with great admiration and affection. She directed our high school cast in the musical My Fair Lady in 1982 with tremendous aplomb, keeping us focused, making us feel comfortable, and ensuring that we enjoyed the ride! She was also my teacher for a music theory class in high school. Growing up in LaCrosse, I was blessed with crossing paths with some fantastic musical educators, who also happened to be outstanding human beings and role models. I consider her belonging to that group and will always be grateful for the guidance she provided to me and so many others! My deepest condolences to her family and may you take comfort in knowing what a positive impact she made in the lives of so many. You are all in my thoughts!

  7. Wendy (Shepherd) Quinn

    Mrs. Allen was a wonderful golf coach and mentor. I was so lucky to have had her as a coach and to play on the state championship teams in 1990-91- what a special person! My deepest condolences to her family for your loss.

  8. larson plachecki , janita

    Blessings to Nancy and the Allen family. From a 33rd st neighborhood neighbor from years ago

  9. Marilyn (Gassen) Werner

    I was one of Mrs. Allen’s Beautyshoppers!!
    He love and passion for music was contagious and because of HER, our triple trio thrived going to State competition. She made learing fun will always be fond memories for me! Prayers to her whole family

  10. Oliver J Kaufman

    Condolences from the Kaufman family. Alice admired Mardel and counted her as a friend and valued music education colleague. Imagine all the people who found their love of music because of them!

  11. Julie (Beier) Silha

    John, Nancy, Janet, and Paul,
    My sincerest condolences on the passing of your wife and mother. Mrs. Allen was a remarkable teacher, musician, and overall great lady. She was a natural and very passionate not only as a mom and grandma but also as a teacher of music, coach and player of golf, quilter, and friend.
    I was fortunate to have her as a music teacher in woman’s chorus, beauty shoppers, and triple trio during my years at Central High School and then was blessed with a continued friendship with her after I graduated. I will forever treasure the memories of her and John’s visits back to Wisconsin during her retirement years and them taking time out of their schedules to get together for a dinner or some ice cream and enjoy wonderful conversations to catch up on each others lives.
    I have always felt very fortunate that she gifted me one of her quilting creations for Christmas one year, it has always had a special place not only in my home but in my heart as well. Mrs. Allen will be missed by many but will be remembered fondly by many as well. Sending extra love, hugs, and prayers to your family during this time. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend her celebration of life, but please know I will be thinking of your family.
    Julie (Beier) Silha

  12. Nancy J. Chambers Volden

    Nancy and the Allen family, My condolences to you and your family on the passing of your mother. I have some fond memories of our neighborhood families. One that I always think back to is the time your parents had the gathering and we served food and drinks. Sending heartfelt prayers.

    Nancy Volden

  13. Wayne A. Wojciechowski

    Nancy, your mom was a very gifted lady who shared her talents and inspired others. I pray you will find peace in her memory and knowing her love is with you in the days ahead.

    Pace e’ Bene

    Wayne Wojciechowski


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