Mr. Walter Allman, the Gentleman Custodian

The Henderson County Education Foundation inducted eight honorees into the Education Foundation Hall of Fame on April 26, 2007, at the Hendersonville Country Club. The inductees were from diversified backgrounds – teachers, principals, a bus supervisor, an attorney, a custodian. But they shared one trait. “They demonstrated measurable influence or made significant contributions to the growth and development of education in Henderson County.”

Walter Allman is hailed as a gentleman custodian who sparkled both the grounds of Hendersonville High School and student spirit. He warmed furnaces and hearts.

Allman (1912-2001) worked 33 years at the school, from 1944 until retiring in 1977. Each school day, he fired up the furnace at 5 a.m., stayed in the boiler room, cleaned up the cafeteria after lunch, and did various tasks around campus. He is described by former students and others as jovial and a great model for his manners, friendliness and extraordinary work ethic in stroking the furnace fire, cleaning the school and doing various maintenances for decades. “He was a humble, honest, hard-working man,” his wife Edna said. “He’d do anything to help others.” He often visited rest home neighbors. “He loved education,” Edna Said. “He encouraged young people to stay in school and off the streets. He’d even help find the jobs.”

His only child, Jennifer Wilson, said he was a respectful “people person” who’d deliver people food and flowers. Conscientious, he swept the sidewalk by their home on Ninth Avenue, so school children walking by “wouldn’t slip on the leaves.” She added, “He was a very honest, caring, religious, serious-minded person.”

Allman, his wife and daughter are all “perfectionists,” daughter Jennifer said. “He’d try to do his work correctly, and to the best of his knowledge. He wanted everything neat and perfect.” He worked hard at home, from helping cook to shampooing carpet.
His demeanor was splendid. “He loved his job, and the people he worked for,” Jennifer said. Allman was also custodian for First United Methodist Church. After he retired from HHS, he did lawn care. He and 11 siblings lived in Travelers Rest, SC. His mother and his twin brother Walker each died when he was an infant. His father, a carpenter, died when he was 17.Allman’s granddaughter, Servetta McDowell of Asheville, has three children.

From Harambee 2007, an album created for the Brooklyn/Green Meadows Reunion