James was born on August 28, 1959 in Pasadena, California to Thomas Allen and Elnora Allen. He was raised in a loving family with nine brothers and sisters. James attended John Muir High School from 1973 to 1977 and was proud to be a Mustang. While attending Muir, he played JV and Varsity football where he led the Mustangs to win their first Turkey Tussle in 10 years against their rivals, Pasadena High School. Little did James know that as a 16-year old sophomore, he would meet his best friend and love of his life, Donna Jean. James and Donna married on November 21, 1982 and have been inseparable ever since. They had three children who they love dearly– Jessie Kenneth Allen, Elnora Antoinette Allen and Jason Curtis Allen.
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After graduating high school, James joined the U.S. Navy where he served as corporal from 1977 to 1980 before becoming a U.S. Navy reserve officer from 1980 to 1983. After an honorable discharge in 1983, he became an aviation mechanic at Lockheed Martin in Burbank, CA where he built airplanes to support the military and protect our nation’s security, such as the Stealth Bomber/U.S. F-117 Nighthawk. In 1988, James moved his family to San Diego, California where he worked as a sheet metal worker at Naval Air Station North Island until 1998. After getting injured while working on the job, James was not deterred - he decided to change careers to pursue a degree in nursing, a great choice given his genuine empathy and compassion for people. He decided to attend Maric College for Medical Careers full-time to become a Registered Nurse. A natural entrepreneur, James also started a successful janitorial business in San Diego – Hawkeye Janitorial Services – to support his family as he transitioned to nursing school. In 2000, James graduated from Maric College and began a 15-year career as an RN across Southern California working in many hospitals, some of which included Mission Bay Hospital in San Diego, Alvarado Hospital, Sharp Memorial Hospital, Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, and most recently Methodist Hospital in Arcadia.
Although James loved caring for patients, he was absolutely passionate about ministering to souls. He was a faithful minister and elder in the Pentecostal church, most notably at North Park Apostolic Church in San Diego, CA, where he, his wife and children were members for 14 years. He faithfully served the ministry and fulfilled his calling to preach to many souls in San Diego and Pasadena. A powerful, anointed preacher, he was led by the Holy Spirit to preach memorable sermons such as “Diamonds in the Rough” & “And at Midnight" that touched many lives and led many to salvation. After moving to Pasadena, James founded Upperroom Apostolic Church where, as pastor, he focused his message on holiness and preaching the plan of salvation. He served as pastor for seven years. James loved ministering to win souls over to Christ to, as he would say ‘be about his Father’s business building the Kingdom’.
James is survived by his wife Donna, sons Jessie and Jason, daughter Elnora, daughter-in-law Amy and brothers Richard Herbert Allen, Bennie Lee Allen and Maylon McKoy. He is also survived by many loving cousins, nieces and nephews.
James is predeceased by his parents Thomas and Elnora, brothers Thomas Allen Jr. and Brezell Allen and sisters Georgia Mae Stearns, Mittie Rose Allen, Addie Lee Allen, and Ella Wee Pine.