Maryon Pittman Allen, one of only two women to serve as a U.S. senator from Alabama, has died.
Allen’s nephew, state Sen. Trip Pittman, says his aunt died Monday. She was 92.
Allen was a journalist for The Birmingham News who married state politician Jim Allen, who died while serving in the Senate in 1978. Then-Gov. George Wallace appointed Allen to fill her husband’s Senate seat until a special election could be held.
Allen served for five months starting in June 1978, but lost the Democratic primary to eventual winner Donald Stewart.
Allen later wrote a column for the Washington Post, using her contacts to write about the Washington social scene. After returning to Birmingham owned and operated a company that restored vintage clothing in Birmingham.
“She lived quite a life,” Pittman said, recalling his aunt’s big personality and sense of humor.
Known for her sharp-tongued wit, Allen once said she should be best known for keeping Wallace out of the U.S. Senate since the ambitious governor couldn’t run against his appointee.
“I want it chiseled on my tombstone that this 5-foot-2 woman who weighs 110 pounds kept George Corley Wallace out of the Senate, and people should come worship at my tombstone,? she told The Associated Press in 1998.
Congressional records show Dixie Bibb Graves is the only other female senator from Alabama. She was appointed to the post by her husband, Gov. Bibb Graves, in 1937. Pittman said his aunt made the decision to go out on her own terms, stopping medication and calling hospice.
During a 1998 interview with the AP, when asked about her potential legacy and how she wanted to be remembered, Allen had a simple reply: “Jim’s wife.”