SHELBYVILLE, Ind. — Sandy Allen, at 7 feet 7 recognized as the world's tallest woman, was remembered at her funeral Monday for her kindness and generosity as much as for her height.
More than 200 people attended a service for Allen at Town & Country Church. More lined the streets of her central Indiana hometown as the funeral procession went to the downtown circle. Her casket was then placed on a horse-drawn carriage to travel about a mile to Forest Hill Cemetery for burial.
Allen died Wednesday at age 53. She suffered from a recurring blood infection, along with diabetes, breathing troubles and kidney failure.
She appeared on television shows and spoke to church and school groups over the years, using her height to inspire schoolchildren to accept those who are different.
"She was pure, just genuine and just so giving," friend Bonnie Shehan said outside the church Monday. "If she had nothing, she'd find something to give you."
Allen grew to 7 feet 1 by age 16 as a tumor caused her pituitary gland to produce too much growth hormone. She underwent an operation in 1977 to stop further growth.
She was struggling with how tall she was when she wrote to Guinness World Records in 1974, saying she would like to get to know someone her own height. The recognition as the world's tallest woman helped Allen accept her height and become less shy, said friend Rita Rose.
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