M.T. and Glen Allen: Good members of their community

Wed, 09/05/2007 - 8:30am
By: Carolyn Cary

M.T. and Glen Allen: Good members of their community

My good friends, Mary Jean "M.T." and Glen Allen met the year I moved to Georgia, 1959. They were employed at the Atlanta airport, Glen as an air traffic controller and M.T. as a teletype operator for Delta Air Lines.

Glen was born in Fulton, Mississippi and reared in Alabama. He is one of eight siblings, their father had a saw mill company and they moved often to where the timber stands were best. When Glen was a teenager, his father started a coal mining company. So Glen is the son of a coal miner, and I'm the granddaughter of a coal miner. There is one connection.

After high school, he served four years in the United States Air Force, which allowed him to then attend The University of Alabama under the G. I. Bill. He was graduated with a liberal arts degree. He originally majored in Spanish with the thought of working in Mexico City for the United States government. While he didn't end up in Mexico City after taking the Civil Service exam, he was offered a job in Atlanta as an air traffic controller. Mary Jean Tortorello ended up in Atlanta from a lot further away than Glen. In fact, she came all the way from Auburn, New York. Yes, that's the same area that our school superintendent, John DeCotis, is from.

Airline schools were advertising for students and Mary Jean begged her mother to attend. After brief training, Delta Air Lines offered her a job in either New York or Atlanta. She made a wise choice and chose the area in which she met her husband, reared three children, and contributed to her community in many, many ways.

Air traffic controllers each had their own "code name" and he knew the teletype operators did too. When Mary Jean first began work, the initials "M.J." were all taken, so she used the initial of her last name. When Glen met her, M. Tortorello was quite a mouthful for a Southerner, so he called her M.T. and that's what she has been called since 1959.

They married in 1962, and have reared John, 42, who is a sonogram technician and lives in Athens, Ga.; Tamara, age 40, who is a homemaker and lives in Peachtree City; and Daniel, 38, who is the manager of Partners Pizza and also lives in Peachtree City. The children graduated from North Georgia College, Auburn, and UGA, respectively. The Allens are proud grandparents of three grandchildren.

M.T. began volunteering at the library when it was located in a building just about where the City Plaza and fountain is now. It then moved to the bottom of the Welcome Center, where the GENC Field Office is now located, and at this time she began to be paid. Just last Friday, she was retired from the library with 28 years of service.

I am often giving books away I no longer have a need for, and I always appreciated M.T.'s honesty as to whether she could use them or not. If she said yes, I knew they would go on the shelf, and not be sold at a book sale for 1 percent of its value.

Community pillar retires after nearly three decades of service

To know my friend, Glen, is to know two things - he enjoys photography, as do I, and he is a big fan of mules. Which I am not. He is a very good bass singer, and enjoys singing with Barbershop quartets as well as the Southlanders Chorus.

He became so enamored about mules, he even carved one in a big rock on Line Creek Trail in 1984 and it is still visible.

What has kept the marriage of my friends so viable for nearly 45 years? They allow each other to "do their thing." M.T. has always been a member of her community, joining various organizations and working through them to benefit mankind. She served as president of the Peachtree City Kiwanis 10 years ago. Glen has used his interest in photography to record many "firsts" in Fayette County, and he has been generous to share those snapshots or video with others. He is a member of the LaFayette Sons of Confederate Veterans in Fayetteville, and along with its members, keeps busy cleaning old or abandoned cemeteries or explaining Southern history to school children.

That's why I enjoy being around them. I believe in making a difference where I live, and so do M.T. and Glen Allen.

login to post comments