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August 29, 2014

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Angels in the Valley: Janice Haupt-Allen makes time for philanthropy

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Sam Morris

Longtime Las Vegas resident and philanthropist Janice Haupt Allen is seen in her home Thursday, April 10, 2014.

DO YOU KNOW AN ANGEL?

If you know someone with a caring heart — someone who has helped a neighbor, a stranger, an organization or the entire community — please pass their name along to us so we can share their story. In Angels in the Valley, an occasional series, we’re profiling individuals who’ve made a difference in the lives of others and deserve to be recognized for their willingness to help. So if you know an Angel, email [email protected] with details.

In Janice Haupt Allen’s home, time comes alive.

You can see it in the 86-year-old Las Vegas resident’s collection of about 200 clocks, which adorn every room of the residence. You can hear it in the ticks and tocks, the chiming, the cuckooing and the soft whirring of mechanisms.

But where time really stirs to life is in Allen’s memories of the city she’s loved since coming here for the first time in 1947 as a 20-year-old newlywed. By the time the wheels of the plane hit the desert on a dusty, windy day, she was already hooked.

“What, was I going to go back and live in Ohio forever after that?” she said in a recent interview.

No way. And since moving to Las Vegas in 1948, Allen has poured countless hours and dollars into making her adopted community a better place to live.

Her legacy can be measured in a long list of notable achievements and honors. She donated $1 million toward construction of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts — a tribute to her late husband, Fred Allen, who died in 2008 after a lucrative career as a drilling company owner. She received the Junior League’s Lifetime Community Achievement Award in 2008. Served as a Nevada executive ethics commissioner. Served as chairwoman of registrars and moderator at the Sun Youth Forum for 43 years. Sponsored programs on Vegas PBS. Been a PTA president. Supported such organizations as Opportunity Village, the Nevada Cancer Institute, Nathan Adelson Hospice and Three Square Food Bank. And that’s just a sampling.

Through her volunteer work and pioneering role in journalism, she became acquainted with a host of prominent Las Vegans. Among them: Linda Rankin Givens, one of Allen’s best friends and the namesake of an elementary school in Summerlin. Givens, a teacher from 1963 to 1993, has known Allen since joining the Junior League in 1968.

“She’s always wanted to help wherever she can, and in ways she knows will make a difference,” Givens said. “If you count all of the people who’ve been helped by the organizations she’s supported, it would be in the thousands and thousands. She’s just a very generous person, and I love her to death.”

“The word I would use to describe Jan is involved,” said former Nevada Sen. Richard Bryan, to whom Allen has been a family friend throughout his life. “She’s a wonderful, generous person who has been very involved in the community stretching back to the 1940s.”

That involvement continues today through her philanthropy and participation in such enterprises as a UNLV living history project.

In her home along a golf course on the west side of Las Vegas, surrounded by her clocks and photos from her years in the city, there’s been no place Allen would rather be. That was the case in 1947, and it’s just as true today.

“I love the weather, I love all the things there are to do here, I just love Las Vegas,” she said. “Most of all, I love the people here. Oh, the friends I’ve made.”

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