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In Loving Memory, Shayleen Allen

In Loving Memory,

Shayleen Tiffany Allen

November 1, 1969 – August 1, 2021

Shayleen Tiffany Allen, 51, (Nov. 1, 1969 – Aug. 1, 2021) was at home in Klamath Falls, surrounded by loved ones, when she drew her last earthly breath and began her journey to the Spirit World.

Shayleen lived a life filled with love and vitality. She had infinite love for each of her five children, was an extraordinary big sister and auntie, a wondrous daughter, a devoted and trustworthy friend and colleague, and a committed professional and Klamath Tribes citizen.

Each of Shayleen’s five children – Alena Jane Thomas, Lorenzo Luis (Zo) Idrogo, Alyssandra Christine (Sandra) Hill, Isabelle Leann Grace (Belle) Hill and David Marcel Hill – and her grandson, Daxter NiiLaqs (Dax) Thomas – brought her insurmountable joy. She was purely content when she could observe Alena painting one of her incredible landscapes, watch Dax put together a puzzle or entertain his uncles and aunts, or sit in the bleachers and cheer for David, Belle, Sandra or Zo on a basketball or volleyball court. (It was not unusual for her to attend two different athletic events in one night, or to drive her kids and their teammates hundreds of miles to participate in a tournament.).

Shayleen was also a consummate big sister and auntie. She was born in Seattle and grew up with her brother and best friend David Allen Hill, mostly in Seattle. She was living in Klamath Falls, preparing to work at Weyerhaeuser and attend Oregon Tech (then OTI) when her brother Jacob Michael Allen was born in Stanwood, WA. She was living in Seattle again, attending the University of Washington, when her younger brothers, Joseph James (Joe) Dupris and Shay RedHorse Dupris were born there. She loved listening to oldies and watching laugh-out-loud movies with her brothers, her children, and their friends. She was thrilled when David’s sons, Jonathan Roy Hill and Allen Marques Hill were born, and she had a new generation to laugh with and love.

Shayleen’s professional background and career focused on children, Native families, Native American/Federal Indian law, and the Klamath Tribes. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work at the University of Washington and worked with Native families and youth. She subsequently earned a law degree (J.D.) at the University of Colorado in Boulder, focusing on Federal Indian Law. Shayleen’s first job after graduating from law school was with the Spokane Tribe in Washington. She left there to be closer to family, working for the Hoopa Valley Tribe in northern California and then for the Morisset, Schlosser, Jozwiak law firm in Seattle, which practices only Native American Law. Finally, she had an opportunity to apply for a position with her own tribe – the Klamath Tribes. (A quick worthwhile note here – these jobs required her to take and pass bar exams in Washington, California, and Oregon. No small feat.)

Once Shayleen got home to Klamath Country, she stayed home. She served as the Klamath Tribes in-house attorney for years before taking the opportunity to expand her skills by attending Southern Oregon University and earning a Master’s in Education degree, then teaching briefly for Chiloquin Elementary School. She loved teaching, and loved her students, but she was a single parent by then and didn’t feel that she could afford to adequately support five children on her teacher’s salary. She went back to work as the Klamath Tribes in-house attorney. Her belief in the potential realization of a larger reservation for the Klamath Tribes drove her to apply for a position in the Planning Department, where she eventually became the Planning Office Director.

Shayleen spread her professional wings one more time, moving her family from Chiloquin to Klamath Falls to serve as the Klamath Tribal Health & Family Services Administrative Officer. She eventually served as both the Administrative Officer and Interim General Manager. As Tribal Health colleague Maureen Herrera wrote, “… what a kind beautiful person she was, always made time for anyone that wanted to talk. Her laughter you could hear down the hall. It was contagious, it would make us laugh….She was so dedicated to her job. I remember seeing her suburban parked outside work on weekends and never showed no sign of being tired.”

It was during this time that Shayleen was diagnosed with extremely aggressive leukemia. Thanks to the loving generosity of her brother David, she and her family were able to temporarily move to the Seattle area so she could receive the outstanding care offered by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. That treatment led to a stem-cell transplant that extended her life by 16 beautiful but challenging months that she would not have gotten through without the love, prayers, dances, letters, texts, well wishes and other support of family, friends, and colleagues. 

Shayleen’s family expresses special appreciation for Irwin A. Weiser, Sr., who first met Shayleen when she was 19 and they both worked at Weyerhaeuser. Irwin taught her to hunt, do beadwork, and make jewelry, and nurtured her love of horses, camping and everything outdoors. Their relationship endured its share of ups and downs, but he remained the love of her life.  Irwin’s kindness and devoted caregiving (with her daughter Alena) during Shayleen’s final months ensured that she never lost awareness of how precious and beautiful she was to all of us.

The family would also like to thank Klamath Tribal Health & Family Services, Dr. Swanson and the staff at Cascades East, the physicians, nurses, technicians and CNAs at Sky Lakes, Dr. Hehn, Heidi Ogletree and the staff at Hematology-Oncology in Medford, and the extraordinary medical professionals at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the University of Washington Medical Center.

Shayleen was preceded in death by her grandparents, Margaret Jane (Haddock) Markillie and Earl W. Markillie, Gerald LeRoy (Pat) Hill, Sr., Roy Elbert Allen and Luada Allen, and her first cousin Julie vanBelle.

In addition to her children, grandson, brothers, nephews and Irwin, Shayleen is survived by her mother Kathleen Shaye (Kathy) Hill and stepfather Joseph Calvin Dupris (Chiloquin), her uncles, Gerald LeRoy Hill, Jr. (Chiloquin) and James Daryl Hill (Polacca, AZ), first cousins Shana Mackenzie Hill (Santa Rosa, CA), Sarah Yankton Hill (Seattle, WA), and Tristan Riley Hill (Prescott, AZ), stepsister Megan Dupris (Irving, TX), great-uncle Wilford Hill (Klamath Falls) and great-uncle Fred Haddock and his wife Sharon (Klamath Falls).

She is also survived by her father Bill Allen and stepmother Lynn Marie Allen (Stanwood, WA), sister-in-law Lauren Allen, nephew Austin Roy Allen and niece Hayden-May Allen (all of Bothell, WA), aunt Patty Lucille Pangburn (Paisley, OR), and first cousin Gina Lynn Gossman (Eagle, ID).

Her life was touched and enriched by many more cousins, each of whom was a treasure to her heart. And friends… so many friends. You know who you are.

Shayleen chose to have her earthly remains cremated. In honor of her predilection for joy and sharing, the family will have a memorial in her honor, and in honor of her friends and loved ones, in the coming spring.