Mrs. Voncille Allison Passes Away
The Mid-America family mourns the loss of Mrs. Voncille Allison, wife of our late founder, Dr. B. Gray Allison. Mrs. Voncille passed away on Monday, January 20, 2020. An accomplished musician on organ, piano, and voice, Mrs. Voncille served as an Instructor in Music since the Seminary’s founding in 1972. She wrote the Mid-America Alma Mater and is often remembered for playing the organ during Chapel for many years. Her ever-present smile is forever impressed in the memories of those who remember her sweet presence at the Seminary and at her husband’s side. Today, we praise God for Mrs. Voncille and her lifelong ministry to “lift high the Cross, His love proclaim.”
Obituary for Mrs. Voncille Allison
Voncille Allison, 93, of Arlington, Tennessee went to be with the Lord on January 20, 2020. She was born as Farris Voncille Cruse in Jonesboro, Louisiana, on November 3, 1926, to Daniel Maloy and Bertha Odom Cruse. She grew up in Ruston, Louisiana, as an only child and was cherished by her parents.
She is survived by a daughter, Suzanne Grigsby (Charlie), of Arlington, Tennessee; daughter, Charlotte Miller (Rama), of Maumelle, Arkansas; son, Gray M. Allison (Anita), of Collierville, Tennessee; six grandchildren and their spouses; 13 great-grandchildren; brother-in-law, James Allison; sister-in-law Margaret Allison; very special nieces and nephews; and a large host of extended family members and friends. She was predeceased by her husband, Dr. B. Gray Allison
, two grandsons, and her parents.
Voncille graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in both vocal and instrumental music. At age 19, she was valedictorian of her college class. She married the love of her life, B. Gray Allison, the following summer on June 27, 1946. She supported him in every endeavor throughout their 72 1/2 years of marriage together until his death on February 12, 2019. Gray was her main caregiver for many of their last years together when she became wheelchair bound due to Multiple Sclerosis. During Gray's years as a pastor and evangelist, Voncille served as an organist, a pianist, a Minister of Music, and a Sunday School teacher in many of the churches where he served. She often sang solos right before he preached. She went on mission trips with Gray all over the world. In August 1972, Gray founded Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis. Voncille taught music to the students at Mid-America for many years before retiring. Voncille was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and spoke to everyone she met about her love for her Lord. She was known for her beautiful smile (Always!) and cheerful spirit (Amen!), her passionate faith and trust in God, her devotion to Gray, her incredible talent as a singer, organist, and pianist, and her unconditional love for her family. She especially loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Voncille loved to receive small gifts of flowers and candy and was also known for her grateful spirit. Papa often said of her "She made home happy." She brought joy wherever she went and will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
Tribute to Mrs. Voncille Allison
By Dr. Michael Spradlin
I knew Voncille Allison both as a professor and the wife of my seminary president. The steps of faith that were Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary were her steps as well. She was a faithful companion and a faithful contributor to the ministry of Dr. B. Gray Allison. Her absence cannot erase the eternal impact her own life and ministry made in the lives of so many pastors, church staff leaders, and missionaries who studied at Mid-America.
At the beginning of each school year, when Dr. Gray Allison recounted the story of “The Miracle of Mid-America,” an unspoken truth always remained present: a walk of faith can be both painful and lonely for both spouses. For Dr. Allison, the pressure of leading a great faith venture remained a constant force in his life. For Voncille, this meant long absences from her husband as he traveled for the ministry. It meant she had financial sacrifice and long hours of prayer when no money for payroll was evident. She had to brave the storms of doubt when even close friends wondered if the school would survive or if it was even a good idea. It meant she had to have a core conviction from the Lord that the call to ministry and service was not just her husband’s.
Voncille taught Church Music for many years at Mid-America. The primary goal of her Church Music class was to teach ministers some basics, so they could lead music in their churches if no other options were present. Since I had an extensive music background, I decided I did not need her class and applied to take the exemption test. Alas, although I knew the music theory, I failed the test because I did not know the “Twelve Don’ts of the Minister of Music." When I took her class, I learned something I never expected. She communicated to her students a passion for the words and messages of the great hymns. I knew the notes but had missed the majesty. I’m so glad she was one of my professors.
Voncille Allison lived life in her own way and style. She was both inimitable and irrepressible. No one who heard her “Amen” during Dr. Gray Allison’s preaching will ever forget her zeal or her timing. I’m thankful to have known her, and I’m thankful for godly women who will brave the difficult journey of faith. She finished well, and Heaven becomes more real with her glorious homegoing.