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In Loving Memory of Richard L. Allen (1924-2017)

Posted By Administration, Friday, November 10, 2017

Dr. Richard “Dick” Lovett Allen died on October 22, 2017 at the age of 93.


Dick was born on July 14, 1924 in Cleveland, OH to parents Marion Ream Allen and Clifford W. Allen, and grew up in Columbus. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 until 1946, in which year he married Emma Lou (née Burgoon). Dick then earned two degrees in Ceramic Engineering from Ohio State University: a bachelor’s in 1948 and a master’s in 1949. He worked for 15 years as a production engineer and then as a sales engineer; but during that time Dick discerned his call toward ministry, and in 1964 he entered Harvard Divinity School. After the untimely passing of Emma Lou, Dick married his beloved wife Lois in 1967, in which year he also received his Bachelor of Sacred Theology from HDS. Finally Dick earned his Ph.D. from Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union in 1971.


Rev. Allen was ordained on May 2, 1968 by the Palo Alto Unitarian Church (now the UU Church of Palo Alto), and he carried out his first parish ministry at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, HI from 1972 to 1980. In that year he was called to the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City, OK. Rev. Allen dedicatedly served the Oklahoma City church for 14 years, until his official retirement in 1994; the congregation honored Dick as their Minister Emeritus and Lois as Choir Director Emeritus, and named the church’s new courtyard in their honor. Rev. Allen then performed interim ministries at two California congregations: Throop UU Church in Pasadena (1994 – 1996) and the UU Church of the Monterey Peninsula in Carmel-by-the-Sea (1996 – 1997). Finally he served for a short time as the minister of Napa Valley UUs in Napa, CA (2000 – 2001).


In addition to his parish ministry, Rev. Allen performed much service to the denomination. He was the secretary of UU Advance from 1982 to 1984. Rev. Allen also served on the board of the Southwest UU Conference from 1983 to 1985, and in that year he was program chair for the Conference’s Summer Institute. He also served as president of the Southwest Chapter of the UU Ministers’ Association from 1989 to 1991. In 1994 Rev. Allen was a chaplain at the Institute for Religion in an Age of Science’s summer conference on Star Island, NH. And both he and Lois were active for many years and in several capacities with the UU Retired Ministers and Partners Association.


Outside his denominational work, Dick belonged to several community organizations. He sat on the boards of the Oklahoma Alliance for Children and of the Friends of the Library of Central Oklahoma. A pro-choice advocate, Rev. Allen twice served on his local Planned Parenthood boards—for Hawaii and for Central Oklahoma—as well as on the policy council of the Oklahoma Religious Counsel for Abortion Rights.


He self-published two books while serving in Oklahoma City: Loving a Kind of Light in 1985 and Deeper into the Cave in 1991. In his spare time, Dick enjoyed reading, watching films, visiting art museums, and engaging in conversation. 


Throughout his ministry, Rev. Allen was known for a warm spirit coupled with a keen intellect—an appreciation for life’s deep questions, which resist easy or black-and-white answers. Dick once mused: “On my tombstone, there could be my name, my dates, and the sentence, ‘It is more complicated than that.’”


He is survived by his wife of 50 years Lois Allen; children Bruce Klickstein, Laura Crowder, Robin Klickstein, and Joe Allen; grandchildren Crystal Allen, Maile Allen, Emily Hunt, Kristina Koberg, Cameron Ito, Grace Bancroft, and Joe Bancroft; six greatgrandchildren; and siblings Margaret Starbuck, John Allen, and Joseph Allen. He was predeceased by his first wife Emma Lou.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ministerial Discretionary Fund of the UU Fellowship of San Luis Obispo, 2201 Lawton Ave., San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401; and to the UU Society for Ministerial Relief, c/o the Rev. Dr. David Hubner, 192 Boston Post Rd. #29, Sudbury, MA 01776.


A memorial service will take place at 2pm on Saturday, December 16 at the UU Fellowship of San Luis Obispo County, 2201 Lawton Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.


Notes of condolence can be sent to Lois Allen at 1691 Seabright Ave., Grover Beach, CA 93433.

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