Paul J. Allen was born in May 1939, in Green Bay, Wisconsin; he died in his home in Davenport, Iowa, on Saturday, July 6, surrounded by loved ones. He is survived by his loving and beloved wife, Billie Greenwood, his sons Andy and Matt (Laia Jorba), his four grandchildren Alina, Thean, Jaiden, and Naia, his ten siblings Judy Ullmer (Jerry), Tom Bice-Allen (Janese), Jane Hanson (Bob), Judy Ann Berken (Jerry), Mary Allen Arana (Javier), Lutie Allen-Voreis (Mark), Mark Allen (Judy Fisher), Terese Allen (Jim Block), Susie Allen (Bruce Dethlefsen), and John Allen (Johanna Mattern Allen). He was predeceased by his parents, Norbert John and Agnes Cecilia Allen, and his step-mother Bev Allen.
Paul leaves behind a lifetime legacy of pursuing social justice, university education, and active efforts to help others to be more human. He received his Ph.D. in Ecumenical Studies at the Aquinas Institute, and inspired countless students through his teaching of issues of social justice, liberation theology, and the ethics of world religions in his long career at Loras College (1964-2005) in Dubuque, Iowa, often leading students, family, and friends on eye-opening and soul-searching direct encounters with inequality, poverty, and injustice in Central America (Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras), Mexico, the Philippines, and under-privileged parts of the United States. He spent summers and four sabbatical leaves actively working to redress social imbalances. For many summers he and his family lived and worked at Camp Sacred Heart in Alamosa, Colorado, a camp that served underprivileged youths; he worked with the Jubilee Partners community; he served with Witness for Peace in Nicaragua in 1985. After retiring from teaching, Paul continued his efforts to serve, learn, and inspire at Hope House in Dubuque, Iowa, in Bolivia, on the U.S.-Mexico border, and with projects initiated by the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in Davenport, Iowa.
Paul followed his ideals into adventure and, at times, into danger and sorrow; he combined practical labor with his deeply held principles; his convictions and his actions inspired others; and he did all of this with great joy and great humor, identifying his own greatest achievement as “never stopping being 10 years old.” He delighted in The Three Stooges and corny jokes, played goofy tricks on family and friends, and teased everyone who could take it. He played the piano and harmonica, sang well, and told great stories around many campfires. Paul was a gardener, a fixer-upper, and a great fan of walks in the woods or along the railroad tracks. He ice-skated well, and played center on the hockey team while he attended Catholic University. He consumed little and wasted nothing. He enjoyed inexpensive beer and deep conversation. He was an optimist and a realist, and he always sought ways to be more human, as well as helping others to find their own way.
At his request, Paul’s memorial service will be held later this summer so that those who come to honor him might celebrate his life more than mourn his death.