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Week of May 23, 2011


John Allen

John Allen, professor emeritus of biology, died suddenly on April 20 as a result of a fall at home.

Allen was born Sept. 1, 1924, in Springfield, Mo. During World War II he served as an infantry rifleman in the 75th infantry division. He fought in the Ardennes during the difficult campaign of December 1944-January 1945, and in the Rhineland and Central Europe. He received three bronze stars for his service in these campaigns.

Photo courtesy Allen family.

In 1948, after the war, Allen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in zoology from Drury University. He received a doctorate in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1954. In 1952 he joined U-M as an instructor in the Department of Zoology. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1956, associate professor in 1960 and professor in 1964. In 1970 he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Drury University. From 1966-71 he served as chair of U-M’s Department of Zoology. In 1978-79 Allen received the university’s Undergraduate Teaching Award, a prestigious award that “honors faculty who have demonstrated outstanding ability in teaching undergraduate students.”

Following retirement Allen devoted himself to his two great interests, woodworking and hiking/exploring. He designed and built many pieces of furniture on display in the homes of numerous family members and close friends. He and his wife Edith (Teddy) spent more than 20 years conducting extensive volunteer fieldwork for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula, where their cabin is located. This work was one of the great joys of Allen’s later life; he was truly a dedicated conservationist, family members say. In 2001 he and Edith received the Oak Leaf Award, which is the national Nature Conservancy’s highest honor for volunteer service. Allen said this volunteer work in the field of conservation carried more significance and was more personally rewarding than any of his scientific achievements.

In private life Allen was a constant and loving companion, friend, husband, and father, family members say. At U-M, his students at all levels found him interested, encouraging and a source of great inspiration, colleagues say. His determination and strength of character most recently were evidenced by the way in which he forced himself to relearn how to walk following a debilitating illness. In all phases of life he held himself and others to high standards, and he was a person of great integrity with a strong sense of personal responsibility, colleagues say.

Allen is survived by friends and family, including his wife of 34 years, Edith Maynard of Ann Arbor; his daughter Susan Allen of New Orleans; Todd Sanford of New Orleans; Katharine and Frank Severson of West Sacramento, Calif.; Elizabeth Maynard and Paul Landgrebe of Valparaiso, Ind.; and Donald, Louise and Auston Maynard of Randolph, Vt.

Cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, 101 E. Grand River, Lansing, MI 48906, or to the Huron River Watershed Council, 1100 N. Main, Ann Arbor MI 48104,

A public memorial celebration of Allen’s life will take place at 4 p.m. Aug. 22 in the auditorium at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.

Jo Eleanor Elliott

Jo Eleanor Elliott, former president of the American Nurses Association and a U-M alumna who taught at the School of Nursing for five years, died May 1. She was 87.

Elliott served as president of the American Nurses Association from 1964-68, during which time the ANA advocated support of the newly formed Medicare program. She also served as the nation’s top nurse as director of the Division of Nursing at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, from 1980-89.

Elliott received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from U-M in 1947. She was an instructor at the school from 1947-52.

In 1953 she received a master’s in nursing education from the University of Chicago. Her master’s thesis was a history of the U-M School of Nursing.

In 1987 Elliott received a distinguished alumni achievement award from U-M. The American Academy of Nursing named Elliott a Living Legend in 1997. It’s the AAN’s highest honor, commemorating the lifetime achievements, influence and professional contributions of nursing’s most accomplished individuals.

“Jo Eleanor was highly influential in the federal government and created new expectations for funding for nursing,” says AAN Board Treasurer Patricia Yoder-Wise. “She was a visionary, and her work as president of the American Nurses Association highlighted important health care issues, forming the basis for endorsing many legislative actions to bring better health care to citizens.”

The School of Nursing has an endowment fund that was created in Elliott’s honor, the Jo Eleanor Elliott Scholarship Fund. The family is requesting that any donations be made to this fund, c/o the U-M School of Nursing, 400 N. Ingalls St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109.



Mike Ross, financial aid officer senior, Office of Financial Aid, on how training and preparation for sports competition positively impacts his approach to work: “It takes a lot of motivation and attention to detail to do my job well.”


“Reconstruction of an Antenna (as seen on TV)” from UMMA Projects: Amalia Pica, May 28-Sept. 18, U-M Museum of Art.

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