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David J. Allen (1935-2009)


Chances are that if you became an Acacian during the last 30 years of Dave's life, you either met or knew of Brother David J. Allen, Indiana '57. If you met Dave, you remembered him and he remembered you.

Since his undergraduate years at Indiana University, Dave has remained active in the affairs of the Fraternity, serving on the Indiana Chapter House Corporation Board and as Chapter Advisor. He has served the International Fraternity as Judge Advocate and was currently fulfilling his second term as International President.

As Judge Advocate, Dave served in four administrations and was the driving force in the re-codification of the Laws of Acacia. Elected president in 2002, Brother Allen commissioned a task force to create Acacia’s Strategic Plan as a guiding document for the next decade. An outgrowth of the Strategic Plan is Acacia’s new Membership Education Program, Cornerstones.

David was born in East Chicago, Indiana on May 3, 1935 to David F. and Emma C. Allen. David grew up in East Chicago and attended East Chicago public school, where he was a stellar history student, avid varsity baseball player and student manager of Roosevelt High School’s highly regarded football teams. He attended American and Indiana University (B.S. 1957, A.M.T. 1959, and J.D. 1965). He was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1965 and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1968. David was the senior partner in the Indianapolis law firm of Hagemier, Allen & Smith from 1974 until his death.

David was a committed, well-known and extraordinarily capable expert in governmental matters in general, and the legislative process in particular. During his career in public service, he served as Administrative Assistant to Governor Matthew E. Welsh (1961-1965); counsel to Governor Roger D. Branigin (1965-1969); Transition Counsel to Governor Edgar D. Whitcomb (1969); University Counsel, Indiana State University (1969-1970); a member of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (1972-1975); counsel to the Indiana Speaker of the House (1975-1976); Special Counsel to the Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore (1977-1978); counsel to the minority party Indiana House and Senate (1979-1988); legislative counsel to Governor Evan Bayh (1989); and special counsel to Governor Frank O’Bannon (1997-2003). He was honored with the highest award given in Indiana and made a Sagamore of the Wabash by each of these Governors as well as Governor Joe Kernan. He was a key figure in the transition team from Governor Branigin to Governor Bowen, an old family friend. David served similarly as a special advisor 20 years later when, after a long stretch of Republican control of the State House, Governor Bayh succeeded Governor Robert Orr, another good friend. David was a bridge across party lines and a committed advocate for effective government. He was a wise and able counselor to many, and always put the interests of his nation and state above partisan objectives. David served as a member of the Indiana State Police Board (1968-2007), Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board and Advisory Counsel (1968-1985), Indiana Commission to Recommend Changes in the Legislative Process (1990-2002), Indiana Criminal Code Revision Study Commission (1998-2002), and as Commissioner, Indiana Commission on Recodification and Revision of the Indiana Administrative Adjudication Act (1985-1987).

From 1977 until his death, David was an Adjunct Professor of Public Law and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a moving force behind the establishment of that school, and loved Indiana University and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. A revered professor, David inspired many of his students to pursue a career in public service and was honored on numerous occasions for his contributions to the School and for outstanding teaching in both undergraduate and graduate public law related courses.

David was a devoted member of Acacia Fraternity and served as its international President at the time of his death. He was a recipient of the Fraternity’s George F. Patterson, Jr. award, the Acacia Award of Merit, and the Order of Pythagoras.

He was a 50 year member of the Andree Lodge, Independent Order of the Sythiod, Knights of Pythias Lodge, Griffith, Indiana, East Chicago Masonic Lodge #595 F & A.M., South Bend 32 Degree Consistory, Orak Shrine Temple, Michigan City, Indiana, and Indiana Harbor Commandery.

Beyond his students and his many friends, David loved baseball. For years, he coached American Legion Baseball for East Chicago Post 369 and later for Hammond Post 180, many of his players going on to college, professional, major league or World Series play. Yet another accomplishment was his noted expertise about American history, particularly the American Presidency. Over his lifetime, he accumulated one of Indiana’s most extensive private libraries on the Presidency.

He was formerly a member of St. Paul’s Swedish Evangelical Church in East Chicago, Indiana and at the time of his death, a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Hammond, Indiana.

In Memoriam

Bill Andrae, Wisconsin #916

I will forever remember Brother Allen for his kindness, humor, and dedication to the fraternity. Here's one memory of Dave that sticks out in my mind. Dave's humor came out in strange ways, such as when he was driving next to me on the way to paintball at leadership academy and pulled out his badge telling me to pull over. My eyes popped and my heart race quickened until I saw the big smile emerge on Dave's face. He never let me live that one down. Here's to you Dave. So Live.

Steve Herdrich, Indiana #742

I had the good fortune of re-connecting with Dave some 4-5 years ago after 40+ years of not being in touch and it was like we had last been together the day before. I will miss him.

Brian S. Downs, Central Oklahoma #414

I owe a lot to Dave Allen and I will miss him greatly. Dave was an opponent at times as we served on Council together, but he was always a friend first! Dave was instrumental in helping me continue my career in government and politics by giving me a personal recommendation to serve at the White House, where he had also spent his younger years. He would often interrupt conversations and meetings to start a political dialouge or give me a Democrat ribbing with that sly smile, a true sign that he respected you. That alone, in of itself, was a humbling honor for me during the past decade that I knew Dave Allen. I will always remember the council meetings we would have when Dave and George Patterson would seemingly open a treasure chest of fraternal history with which we could learn. I know Dave loved teaching and I believe all of us who have spent anytime with him learned that he loved his fraternity and in return we loved Acacia more as well. Godspeed my friend.

Chip Brueckman, Cornell #844

We will miss Brother Allen, a true gentleman and wonderful Acacian.

Bryan Downs, California University of Pennsylvania #1

It is true that if you were an Acacian in the 'last 30 years you probably met Brother Allen and he would probably remember you.' That is a special gift which I try to foster but with less success. He was a genuinely likable man. When we were trying to launch a building campaign over 15 years ago he sent me a copy of Indiana's campaign and was willing to give me advice. It mattered not that I was just some young alum nor that we were a small chapter out in the outlying areas... Furthermore I understand that he took one or more younger brothers from our Chapter under his wing and I was glad for them.

Jeffrey H. Jordan, Ohio State #822

No other brother, through his work for the Fraternity, has ever commanded more of my respect than Dave Allen.

Patrick McGovern, Indiana #1886

Having been one of the humble recipients of Dave's wry sense of humor, as well as Dave's wise and sobering counsel, his passing saddens me deeply. A man of uncanny insight, and deep devotion to our Fraternity, it is difficult for me to imagine a Conclave without Dave's guidance and ability to "keep things rolling forward". Even on those occasions when he & I had a difference of opinion, and engaged in debate, he conveyed a level of respect, and spoke his true mind.

I can say for myself that there have been more than a few times when Dave's insight has given me the confidence to be proactive in the expansion of and protection of our beloved Fraternity. His spirit and passion for Acacia Fraternity live on in each of us now - in the stories we tell, at the times when we ask ourselves "What would Dave recommend right now?", and in the values that we must continue to preserve.

Farewell Dave, may your passage be gentle, and may your rest bring you peacefulness.

Jim Turner, Indiana #672

Unfortunately due to a prior commitment, I cannot attend Dave’s calling or services, but without question he will be in my thoughts and prayers.

While Dave, without a doubt, has more Brothers than anyone in the entire Fraternity, I am honored to say that I, along with Don Wagner, was one of his two Fraternity Fathers. His commitments to Acacia in terms of time, service and finances have set a standard that will be hard to surpass.

His integrity was unquestionable and one always knew where they stood in his eyes. He was never hesitant to express his opinion and on occasion with language that would make a sailor blush. To mention all the good times and experiences with Dave would take far too much space, but to note a few would include trips several of us took with Dave home to visit his parents (who were two outstanding people); sitting on the bench at East Chicago’s Roosevelt High School football games; going on double-dates and dressing down pledges.

There will never be another Dave Allen. May God bless you, Dave!

John F. Hoffner, Purdue #951

So many memories have come back to me in a rush of wonderful emotions. How does a person capture 40+ years? I have known you longer than I have known Jeannie, and that is saying something. My memories are aplenty:

Meeting you as a pledge on my very first visit to the Acacia house at IU. Spending time with all our brothers at Acacia “State Days.” Coming over to proctor initiations when I was a “Province Governor” in the 70s. Hanging out with guys like the Fergusons, the Richardsons, Christ Drossos, Mike Carmin, Tom Schwoegler, Rick Haas, Rick Bush, Mike Oakes, and many others. Eating lots of meals in the dining room, with Joyce always making sure to take good care of me. Working with you and Joe Reed when I served under him as First Vice President. Receiving the Award of Merit from Joe in 1980 with you there to congratulate me. Being elected as National President in New Orleans and being honored that you would serve as my Judge Advocate Being together in office when Acacia first became an International Fraternity, with the chartering of Western Ontario.
All the great things we accomplished back then like the first-ever Anti-Hazing and Substance Abuse Policies, as well as the huge project you completed to re-codify Acacia’s Bylaws.

Many, many ritual bars with some of the finest people I have ever known in my life – you, George Patterson, Joe Reed, Harvey Logan, Don Solanas, Tom Nelson, Darold Larson, Ron Hopkins, Frank Cole, Leonard Wood, Les Leibel, Roy Miller, Dave Williams, Les Coyne, Irv Field, Keith Sawyer, Judge and Charlie Sartain, and many others whom I loved and respected, including all the lovely Acacia sweethearts we have had the pleasure to know over the years.

Many Conclaves, with all the drama and machinations of a major political convention. You fittingly presiding over Acacia’s 100th anniversary celebration in Indianapolis in 2004.

Those are just some of the memories I was overcome with, but I saved my most special one for last. You presenting me with the Sagamore of the Wabash award that you had secured from Governor Robert Orr shortly after I was elected National President in 1982.

I just cannot thank you enough for all you did for me over the years, and how many life lessons I learned through the examples you set for all of us. Words simply do not do justice to your legacy. Truly, the only other Acacian I can think of in our modern history who had more of an impact on our beloved Fraternity is George Patterson and in my book, that is just about the best compliment I could ever pay any Acacian.

Thank you for everything, my dear Brother. I will never forget you. God bless you and keep you and give you comfort and peace.

Chis Caywood, Michigan #742

I had the pleasure to work with David to re-write the Acacia by-laws in 1986, a time when I also was studying for the bar examination.

My fondest memory of David was his capacity for forgiveness. I missed my deadline to provide him revisions to the Acacis bylaws because of my bar examination distraction. While David took me to task for missing my deadline, he also sent me a very warm thank you letter and named me as an honorary judge advocate for my contribution when I finally sent my materials to him. I was impressed at that time by his leadership skills and capacity for forgiveness.

As a result, David holds a very special place in my heart and I will include him in my prayers in my faith tradition. God bless you David, and may you rest in peace.

Shaun M. Kirkwood, Indiana #1477

Dave was instrumental in my personal growth and development while I was at Indiana University. Your friendship, leadership and guidance will be greatly missed by all of your brothers. God bless.

Gary Lefmann, San Jose State #17

Although I never met Brother Allen, his accomplishments speak for themselves. I count anyone who serves Acacia as a friend. He will be missed.

James Katsaounis, Ohio #437

A truly remarkable brother who has been a great shepherd of our Fraternity will be sorely missed, but whose spirit and love for Acacia will continue in those brothers who strive to serve our brotherhood as much as he. May he continue to guide us from the chapter eternal. Farewell, my Brother.

Mike Reese, Missouri #823

David was a unique person and something that there is just far too few of in life; a character. If you met him you couldn't help but like him and his love of Acacia was always so noticeable and endearing. My condolences on his passing and prayers for his family at the sad moment, for strength and healing.

Bruce Froendt, Nebraska #859

It is with great sadness and great surprise I learn of Dave’s passing. To me Dave was Mr. Acacia. David epitomized the meaning of brother and brotherhood. I am very, very saddened to learn of his death. Acacia has truly lost a valued and beloved brother – and true friend.

God bless you Dave, and may God bless your family in this most difficult time.

Thank you for your friendship, kindness, support, and brotherly love. Your life and work positively impacted so many brothers and Acacia. Your guidance, wisdom, and influence will be forever missed and remembered.

Robert L. Streett, Cal Poly/Pomona #64

David Allen has been a familiar name and face for all of my Fraternal life. My condolences to his family and the International staff.

Stephen Bates, Indiana #1491

Brother Allen's words of encouragement during the semester after initiation. I was a young ROTC cadet and he charged me with leadership responsibilities in the house, to use the skills I learned to help form and train Acacia pledges in a way that conveyed dignity and respect. =Brother Allen will be sorely missed, rest in peace, old friend.

Lawrence Andre, Kansas State #985

I know I should be celebrating a wonder life, but I can't help but feel sad and tearful at Dave's passing. Dave meant so much to me and countless other Acacians. I was deeply honored to be part of the "Not for Prime Time" Indy 500 Race Group that Dave got so much joy from each year (who will sit in P1 this year????). And Dave's friendship meant so much to my Acacia Journey. But something that I am reminded of is how full Dave's life was, and while we immortalized him within Acacia's walls, we can't forget that he had an equally powerful impact on so many other groups of people that his life intersected. Dave is certainly one of the most impressive, most accomplished, and most loved men that I have ever met. I hope that I have a long life ahead of me so that I can share Dave's legacy with those around me. I'm honored to call Dave my friend and mentor.

David Ferguson, Indiana #1134

Dave was a memorable guy. My first memory was at Conclave in New Orleans in the mid-70's. He came into our hotel room, called us all by name and started hazing us. I was still trying to figure out who this guy was who knew us by name when told us to put on something presentable to wear because he was going to show us what we wouldn't be smart enough to go find on our own. He was right. He took us to Pat O'Briens and everywhere else one should go in N.O. He picked up everyone's tab. He told us stories of older fellows in the house and alumni (my father being one). I will never forget the kindness he showed us over the days of that Conclave (nor the incessant Dave Allen wit). He continued to keep in touch with us over the years and was always there when someone needed a favor or got in trouble. As I got older, he enlisted me to fulfill some of those favors and of course I volunteered as I had been drafted into "Dave's Army" during that Conclave when he had taken such good care of us. Dave was a fine man and we'll all miss him terribly. We are all going to have to step up to make up for the work he will no longer be doing for us.

Robert Plourde, St. Cloud State #254

I had the honor of meeting Brother Allen at ALA in 2005 where he inspired me with his words of wisdom and leadership, without which I would not be where I am today.

Brian Laughlin, Indiana #1539

Great friend, teacher, mentor, coach and brother. May God bless you, David.

Eric DiCenzo, Pittsburgh/Johnstown #402

I consider myself lucky to have known Brother Allen and am saddened to learn of his passing. Brother Allen truly was a remarkable man and a devoted brother. God bless you Brother Allen. Thank you for the memories and for all you have done for Acacia Fraternity.

Hal Hanes, Indiana #840

Our brother, Dave, had many successes and surmounted significant challenges during his journey along life's pathway. I know he dealt with this latest extreme challenge straight up, honorably and bravely, as he demonstrated to us many times in handling the important issues in our collective life in Acacia.

However, it far transcended that. Dave was always the good son to his parents; the good Christian in his faith journey; the good law partner in his professional life; and the good and faithful mentor to those of us who were fortunate to have become his good friend and brother. Throughout our lives, from pledgeship forward, when we lagged, he always demonstrated wisdom while assisting us to correct our course; he showed us the light, and for all of these things, I am very proud to have been fortunate to know him and call him Brother. And for that, and so much more, I am thankful.

So, I look forward to the day at resurrection where we will be together again and where we will meet upon the Square.

God's blessings and safe journey to our good friend and Brother Dave.

Kevin Kerr, Northwestern Oklahoma State #24

I met Brother Allen on the 100th anniversary Conclave in 2004 in Indianapolis. He made a great impression on me, and was one of those people who made you believe you could accomplish whatever goals you had in life, because he could do it. I also got to spend time with him at ALA the following year, and he only furthered my drive to accomplish my life goals. May he rest in peace in the Chapter Eternal with all of our other brothers.

"I am an Acacian, and I'm proud of it."

Derek Li, Syracuse #631

I met Brother Allen at ALA in 2007. In the brief time I knew him, I knew him to be a kind brother with a great sense of humor. I know Acacia will miss all the hard work he has done so that myself and others after me can enjoy a fine fraternal experience. Condolences to his family for their loss.

Blake Hutchison, Wisconsin #905

I first met Brother Allen while waiting in line for dinner at the 1999 ALA. Our conversation was about the Wisconsin chapter and what I was going to do after ALA to make it better. Shortly after returning to Madison after ALA I received a package from Brother Allen and in it was an Honorary Judge Advocate award signed by him. I didn't know that I had done anything in particular to deserve it, or that he would even remember who I was. But from that time on I would always be grateful for his guidance and wisdom.

Brother Allen was a mentor to me during my time as Leadership Consultant. Constantly challenging me, offering advice, teaching Acacia history and traditions. I am lucky to have known him and to have worked with him.

Brother Allen was a devoted brother and his example should serve as a reminder to all of us to constantly ask ourselves "what can I do for Acacia?". I will miss him.

Goutham Ramdas, St. Cloud State #297

Every time I saw him, he reminded me of my grandfather. He had this certain kindness in his expression that was always welcoming and always cheerful. I am honored to have met him this summer at ALA. I will never forget how he bought the entire Saint Cloud delegation lunch on our way back to Minnesota after ALA. Rest in Peace, Brother Allen. On behalf of myself and the Saint Cloud chapter, allow us to say "we will truly miss your presence amongst us".

Bud Sirbu, Indiana #1091

We will all miss Dave in many ways. I will especially miss those many private talks we had. He was as genuine a human being as you will ever meet. May God Bless. -Brother Bud

Gary Haag, Kansas State #964

I remember Dave as the ideal fraternity brother. Always trying to bring members together from a variety of chapters. Once he had them together, in his own way, he would isolate certain ones and work to heighten their belief in Acacia and overall the Greek System. I look back at many of my brothers that have remained committed to the Acacia experience, and wonder how many would be as committed today if they had never encountered brother Allen. While we will miss Dave greatly, his kind heart will be with us for years to come as we continue our Acacia journey.....

Dan Cravens, Indiana #1638

I have known Dave my entire life as he was my dad's fraternity father and best man in my parents wedding. He was a kind an generous man who dedicated his life to preparing young men for both the challenges and successes that life can offer. I was honored to call him a mentor, friend and more importantly, brother. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Sean Keenan, Nebraska #1264

On behalf of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chapter of Acacia, I would like to express my condolences to Brother David Allen and his family. It truly is a loss for all of Acacia and he will be missed. His spirit will remain with us all and he will be remembered for his dedication, spirit, and devotion to the men of Acacia. God Bless Brother Allen.

Lucas Shivers, Kansas State #1015

Dave’s Drawing Power

David Allen brought men together. He facilitated cohesion, barked out orders to unite and tirelessly worked to secure a solid foundation of integrity for Acacia.

I first met Dave in New Orleans in 2003. As an Acacia saint ever marching on, he promoted the brand and lifestyle of an Acacian legacy. I’ve since corresponded many times on the work of K-State Acacia. He offered encouragement, insight and wisdom – always focusing on how to best forge together to exceed the present challenge and celebrate the pending victory.

He promoted K-State Acacia in tough times. He stood beside us. He found individual members to mentor and invest in with time and advice. He worked with us to achieve our goals of Together, Building Exceptional Lives.

Coach Bill Parcells once said, "Individuals play the game but teams win championships." Dave knew that what we can do alone pales in comparison to the potential we have when we work together. Dave won Acacia many championships, and his lasting legacy will continue to serve Acacia well.

Brett Thomas, Washington State #526

I remember Dave fondly as a rare person who was both pragmatic and optimistic, always quick to laugh and young at heart. My condolences, thoughts and prayers to his family and close friends.

George Sorrells, Indiana #1379

My fondest memory of Dave was during the fall of my Junior year at IU. I had just just accepted an ROTC scholarship; and was really conflicted because my parents were really upset. Dave noticed something was wrong and took the time to talk to me about it, and let me know if I was doing what I thought was right to not worry about things I can't control. He always had a kind word for everyone, and I don't think he ever forgot a name. I've not been as active as I probably should, but it is Dave I think of every time I make a donation to the Foundation.You will be missed.

Greg Donahue, Illinois Wesleyan #486

Though I feel that I barely knew Brother Allen, he made my first ALA experience truly remarkable. I recall being struck by his deep respect and admiration of all of the Acacians present in spite of his own outstanding record. Knowing that he often spoke at Indiana University's Law School led me to begin to consider it for my post-undergraduate studies and I am happy to say that I now attend the institution. Brother Allen was a remarkable man, a remarkable role model, and a remarkable Acacian. Thank you for everything.

Mike Shelby, Indiana #1115

I met Dave Allen for the first time in 1974; he was walking up to the front door of the chapter house and I was heading out to class. Dave was already a legend within Acacia, so I stopped and we talked for a few minutes. That conversation was the first of many over the next 35 years, as I got to know, appreciate, and try to counter, often without success, the famous "Allen wit". I don't know how many times I had lunch with him over the years, but I do recall a lot of them took place at Nicks, and the last time was 2007, when I was in Indianapolis on business for the Defense Department. I always tried to buy him lunch, but he was adamant about picking up the tab for "the younger guys".

Dave was one of the smartest individuals I have ever met, and among the most ethical I have ever known. It didn't matter to him what your political philosophy was, he cared more about what was best for the state and country. I'm sure that's why so many people from both sides of the aisle sought his advice and counsel. He was a facilitator, a mediator, and a consensus builder. It's too bad we don't have more people like him in public service.

A lot of people may not be aware of this, but when John Kennedy was president, Dave spent the night at the White House as a guest of the president. He told me the story once, calling it one of the highlights of his career.

It was his suggestion that lead me to move to San Diego in 1977 and begin my law enforcement career; his advice was typically low key; "I think you'll like living there". Yes, and I still do.

Although he was not a trooper, Dave served for years on the State Police Board, and I was told that he received an escort and full honors from the Indiana State Police, in recognition of his years of service. He deserved no less.

I was looking forward to seeing him at Homecoming this year, but that will not happen. He was a great friend, we were all lucky to have known him, and he will be missed greatly.

Michael Duncan, Indiana #2187

Dave cared deeply about Acacia and he encouraged us to live up to the duties of our brotherhood. Dave could tell a "Back in my day.." story with the best of them, but ultimately he just wanted us all to be better men. When I was Venerable Dean there wasn't time, energy or even money that Dave wouldn't put toward our efforts. Beyond his frankness and humor I will always remember that kindness. He believed in the inherent goodness of people which isn't always easy to do when you're putting your faith in college kids. I'm lucky to have known him and even luckier to be able to call him Brother Allen. So live.

Justin Kaplan, Carleton #285

Brother Allen was instrumental in shaping Acacia into what it is today. His smile and humor helped pull me through some tough times. I owe my university career to him and his endless dedication to Acacia. You are deeply missed Brother Allen.

Kevin Maloney, Carleton #72

Dave was a great man, a great friend, and a great brother. I was proud to have known him and he will forever serve as a role model for all Acacians.