Cover photo for David J. Allen's Obituary
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1936 David 2023

David J. Allen

October 10, 1936 — August 6, 2023

Kalamazoo, Michigan

David James Allen, age 86 of Kalamazoo, died on August 6, 2023, at Rose Arbor Hospice Care.  He was born October 10, 1936, in Pittsburgh, PA, the son of John and Alice (Boyle) Allen.  During his teens, the family moved to Birmingham, Michigan, where Dave excelled in many sports, including swimming, diving, baseball, and football. He was captain and quarterback of the Birmingham High School (now Seaholm) football team.

He attended Grinnell College where he excelled in diving and football. There, he met the love of his life, Susan “Scotty” Waldo and married her in a double wedding ceremony with Scotty’s twin sister Margaret “Marty” and “her” David (Leavenworth).  The couple moved to Kalamazoo, where David completed his education, earning his bachelor’s, master’s and specialist’s degrees from Western Michigan University.

With the exception of a brief period in the private sector, David was a career educator. He worked at the Kalamazoo State Hospital, serving as one of the first principals of Pheasant Ridge, a facility that offered an innovative approach in mental healthcare, separating youth from adults and providing a school and opportunities to send student work teams into the local community.

David was later appointed principal of the Allegan County Development Center, which treated Allegan County’s physically challenged and emotionally disturbed youth.  During that time, he was president of the Michigan Association of Teachers of Emotionally Disturbed Children (MATEDC).   In 1998, David was severely injured in a fall, breaking his neck and forcing retirement.  After two months at Mary Free Bed Hospital, he regained much mobility but lived with chronic and increasing pain.

Throughout his life, David was incredibly engaged, playful, funny, generous and kind.  But his most defining trait was his deep love for family and friends.  Without exception, he “showed up” for them in every conceivable way.  He was beloved by his two daughters, Susan (Jim) Frego and Melinda “Mindy” (Fred) Herrmann, his grandchildren: Dr. Annelie Waldo Herrmann Leith (Dr. Tom Leith), Emma Herrmann (Zack Schreier), and David Bernard, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, John and Ronald.

A celebration of David’s life will be held on Saturday, October 7, in the Heritage Auditorium, Meilland Square Memory Care Learning Center, 300 Golden Drive. The event begins at 3 p.m. Donations in his memory may be made to Amigos for Christ using the following link https://give.amigosforchrist.org/fundraisers/susan-fregos-fundraiser and the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.

Please share memories with his family at www.langelands.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David J. Allen, please visit our flower store.

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