David P. Allen, son of David Pillsbury Allen and Mary Rolfe Allen, died on February 24th, 2014 at St. Mark’s Hospital, La Grange.
David Allen was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on May 14, 1919, and moved several times due to his father’s work. He graduated from McKinley High School in Washington, D.C. in 1937, a licensed HAM radio operator at age 16 and member of the high school R.O.T.C. Both he and his father marched in FDR’s first inauguration parade: he played clarinet in his high school band while his father played in his company’s band. Dave Allen kept up with his HAM radio friends around the world for most of his life, and used his radio to help in emergencies and with the Houston-Austin MS 150.
He graduated from Purdue University in 1941 with a degree in mechanical engineering, and went right to work for Clark Bros. in Olean, NY, as “Lieutenant Allen”. As a member of the U.S. Army Air Force, he worked as a test engineer, designing and perfecting fire extinguishing and strategic systems for all types of military aircraft. Many World War II crews returned safely from their missions thanks to his design work on their planes. He graduated in 1943 from the U.S.A.F. Flying School and earned his wings as a twin-engine pilot in March, 1944. He was sent to India to fly combat missions in the Pacific; luckily, the War ended before he was needed. He left the U.S.A.F. in 1946 as Capt. David Allen.
On June 25, 1944, Dave Allen married his beautiful bride, Bettye Ruth Hitchcock, at the Cathedral of Oklahoma City, standing tall in his Army uniform. He returned to work for Clark Bros. in Olean in 1946. His son, David Christopher, and daughter, Diane Elisabeth, were both born there. He moved to Houston, TX in 1954 to work for the Lummus Company, advancing to the position of senior project engineer in the installation of petroleum refineries. He later worked for the Dow Chemical Company, overseeing building of chemical plants and refineries along the Gulf coast.
Dave Allen loved Texas, missing its big skies when he visited his parents back east. He bought a weekend home in Schulenburg in 1973, “in beautiful downtown Engel”. His friends knew his house by the tall HAM radio tower beside it. He loved his neighbors, and kept up with them, watching sunrises and sunsets and the world go by from his front porch. He and his wife Bettye moved into the home when he retired from Dow, and he spent more time getting to know everyone in Schulenburg. They helped found the Backstage Theater group and participated in the production of many plays there. He enjoyed flying over the countryside in his ultra-light plane for many years. He and Bettye moved to the Regency Villas in his later years, where he had many friends and kindly brought newspapers up from the street to apartment doors during his morning dog walks. He kept up with his other friends with morning coffee groups.
David Allen is survived by his sister, Mary de Kok; his son, D. Christopher Allen; his daughter, Diane Elisabeth Bek, and two grandsons, Samuel W. Bek and Benjamin J. Bek, and three pretty great-granddaughters.
Services for David Allen will be held at St. James’ Episcopal Church in La Grange on Saturday, March 1st, at 1:00 p.m.