Friday, September 14, 2012
Allen was born in Ogden, IL, on August 24, 1918, to that town’s doctor and his wife. He was the second of six children. As a teenager, he and his younger brother Don ran a trap line in the cold winters of the early 1930’s. They sold the hides they gleaned from that enterprise to a firm in Chicago, and all transportation of the hides was done by rail.
Allen was Ogden High School Valedictorian and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1940 with highest geologic honors. His Bachelor’s and Master’s theses at Illinois in micropaleontology were published in professional journals. He also played semi-pro baseball, his favorite sport.
On September 5, 1946, he married Frances M. Keiffer in Cleveland, OH. He first met Frances while visiting the home of his AKL fraternity brother, Ray Keiffer, whose family lived in Cleveland. Allen and Frances moved to Palo Alto, CA where he continued working toward his Ph.D. (received in 1949). Allen and Frances began their early married life sleeping on U.S. Army cots in Death Valley, Calif., as he performed geologic mapping of that area for the USGS.
The family grew with the addition of four children while they lived in various places: Alabama (United States Geological Survey), Wisconsin (USGS), South Dakota (State Geologist and Professor of Geology at the University of South Dakota), Indiana (Director of Water Resources Research Center at Indiana University), and finally to Pullman, WA (Director of Water Resources Center at Washington State University). After the children left home, Allen and Frances moved from Pullman to Washington, DC, where he spent 8 years as the Senior Specialist in Mining and Minerals at the Library of Congress before retiring to Corvallis in 1982 to be close to their children's families. He taught part-time at Oregon State University starting in 1983, finally retiring from teaching for good in 1988 at age 70.
Allen maintained memberships in many professional organizations and groups and he played active roles in them for much of his career. As he was a member of Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity in college, he aided them by becoming a Chapter Advisor at the local AKL chapter at Oregon State University in Corvallis. He and Frances traveled to yearly AASG meetings in their retirement, renewing friendships made over his years as a geologist and teacher. The family were avid church-goers, and he was actively involved in any church they attended over the years. He and Frances finally were able to enjoy a wonderful ten years as ‘snow birds’, spending a month or two each winter in Arizona, where they hosted friends and family and Allen led day-trips to local geologic and historical sites.
Allen is survived by daughters, Leslie (Jon) Seitz of Corvallis and Heather (Keith) Van Dyne of Vancouver, WA; two sons, Larry (Ginny) of Donald, OR and Allen (Erika) of Vancouver, WA; and 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters, Mrs. Marion Wagner of Illinois and Mrs. Harriet Moir of Florida, along with numerous nieces and nephews and their families scattered across the United States.
Allen was preceded in death by his favorite (and only) wife Frances, who passed away on October 26, 2010 after sixty-four years together; his parents, Dr. T. Lee Agnew and Agnes (Faris) Agnew of Ogden, Illinois; brother Ted of Oklahoma; brother John of Massachusetts; and brother Don of Virginia.
Allen and Frances sang in many different churches and Frances sang as a soprano professionally. One of the family's favorite songs that Mom sang, we felt sung especially for and directly to Dad, was "When I Have Sung My Songs", music and lyrics by Ernest Charles. She sang to Dad:
"When I have sung my songs to you, I'll sing no more.
T'would be a sacrilege to sing at another door.
We've worked so hard to hold our dreams, just you and I.
I could not share them all again, I'd rather die.
With just the thought that I had loved so well, so true,
That I could never sing again,
That I could never sing again, except to you."
We believe that Dad and Mom may be singing duets once again. In his last few days, Allen listened to a recording of Frances singing this song in 1961 as a Christmas assortment to be presented to Allen and Frances's parents.
Inurnment will be at Oaklawn Memorial Park in Corvallis. A private gathering to celebrate his life will be held at a future date. Services provided by McHenry Funeral Home, Corvallis.
Posted by Lee Allison at 9:23 AM