Sunday, April 1, 2012
A to Z Honesty - A is for Allen
I thought I knew everyone in the Ontario community newspaper business but I'd never heard of Bill Allen until 2006 when I applied for a job at his Huntsville Forester. Frankly I don't know how I missed him. He was an institution; a local legend. Gruff-voiced, like he'd had too many long nights and too many whiskies, I later found out the gravel in his voice came from cancer. Like everything he did, he fought it like a man. Not in the comedic sense of men being sick and whiny but in the true sense of the phrase – with guts and grit.
Over the years we've worked together I have seen this strength repeatedly. But also kindness. He was a father figure to so many. A guiding hand with a sense of humour and a bowl of candies on this desk that anyone could help themselves to when two o'clock sugar-lows hit.
A few weeks ago Bill had a devastating heart attack in his office. Brave co-workers saved his life with CPR but his big heart had worked too hard and a lifetime of toil finally caught up to him. I heard yesterday that he died in hospital on Friday night.
Work won't be the same without him. I feel like we've lost our ship's captain. Our direction.
I know what it's like to lose a father and I send all my very best wishes to his lovely family in this terrible time. I hope you can take comfort in the fact that he made a difference in his community and that he was loved.
Funeral information for Bill can be found here: http://billingsleyfuneralhome.com/home/2012/04/in-loving-memory-of-mr-bill-allen/