Hamblin “Ham” Allen, 100, of North Jay believes that being a Christian helped him walk a straighter path in life. Ham sits between two of his four grandchildren, Shiloh LaFreniere, left, and Abby DiPasquale at the Jay Town Office. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

JAY — As a young boy, Hamblin “Ham” Allen walked about 1½ miles to the Jay Baptist Church with his father and brothers.

It was not until he was an adult that he realized how going to church as a youth would affect his life.

Ham, 100, initially did not think he got anything out of it. He and his brothers would sit in the back pew and goof off until their father separated them, he said.

He realized years later the practice as a boy “must have helped” steer him later in life back to church.

He has a strong faith in God, he said.

When Ham met his second wife, Lula, she talked him into going back to church.


They had both recently been divorced and she had begun attending church and, he said, was “saved,” which means acknowledging Jesus as personal savior. “She told me I should go to church and get saved. I knew deep down I needed to go to church,” he said.

He started going in 1965 to the East Wilton Union Church. He became a member in 1970.

The couple, who married on June 21, 1969, both accepted God into their hearts.

When Lula died in 2010, Ham continued to go to worship services in East Wilton. He still does and his faith continues to strengthen.

“Sunday is my church day,” he said.

He would like to go more often for prayer meetings or study groups, but he had to stop a few years ago because he doesn’t like to drive after dark.


He does have a Monday Bible study with a member of his church, Jim Mancine, who comes to his house.

Ham continues to do his daily morning devotions and reads his Bible on his iPad, which has bigger print.

“My father and mother had strong Christian principles and watched out for me and my brothers,” he said.

He never smoked or drank alcohol.

“I believe that life is calmer when you are a Christian,” he said.  “As a Christian I walked a straighter path and stayed away from things that could get me in trouble and cause problems.”

He believes God has a plan for everything.


“His plan is going to be worked eventually by Him, no matter what we do down here,” Ham said.

He keeps physically active, bowling twice a week and has a daily exercise routine.

He realizes he won’t live forever.

“I know I am going to die soon, but I don’t worry about it because I know where I am going,” he said. “I know it’s going to come.”

Abby DiPasquale of North Jay, one of Ham’s granddaughters who sat next to him during a recent interview, said he often ponders what it will be like when he gets in heaven.

“You can see the awe in his face as he talks about what he anticipates seeing there. He also has a firm belief that his friends and family members who are believers will also join him there, so there is nothing to fear, but so much to look forward to,” DiPasquale said.


He loves serving the church and has served as both a trustee and treasurer, as well as helped build the balcony and paint many parsonages. At one point, he and his late wife cleaned the church weekly.

“I wish I could do more now, but at 100 it is time to let other people have a turn,” he said.

What he likes most when he attends church is the Christian fellowship with others. It makes him feel better when he goes there, he said.

“They are all good people and I enjoy being with them,” he said.

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