Good People

“Lowell Dean Allison, 1968” © R.L. Herron

I’ve done quite a bit of traveling in the past month. I did a little more last weekend for an unfortunate event, the funeral of one of my favorite people: Lowell Dean Allison.

He was only ten years older than I am, an age I consider far too young to have passed away (the older I get, the younger such an age seems to be).

Regardless of his age, by virtue of marrying my father’s baby sister, he will always be in my memory as “Uncle Dean.”

He lived 600 miles away and I wish I could say we saw each other frequently, but every ten or fifteen years hardly counts as frequent. Still, at least in recent years, we did converse via email a lot more often.

During his funeral I discovered, quite by accident, that he enjoyed reading this blog. He thought I had a way with words and he read each new post aloud to my Aunt, who has severely restricted eyesight. I find that to be one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received.

Most people knew Dean as polite and subdued. They also understood that, after a life as a salesman, he was also a talker, with a sly sense of humor.

I think you get a sense of his impishness in the picture above. It’s one that I took of him in 1968.

Dean was as close to the model of a real gentleman as anyone I have ever known. Oh, he could be stubborn, all right, that is very true.

But he was steadfast in his beliefs without being offensive. He might state his position and defend it with resolve, but he would listen politely to yours, without rancor.

He would have been a great politician in another era; back when elected officials still had enough civility to respect viewpoints that disagreed.

I know, because I was not always on the same page, politically, with him. He was far more conservative than I will ever be. But our disagreements were as low-key as disagreements ever get, because I respected him as a person.

I like to think he felt the same way about me.

His family meant everything to him. You could see it in his eyes when he spoke about them. He loved his wife, and the two of them have an enviable legacy. His daughters, my cousins, are delightful, loving people. His son-in-law seems cut out of a similar mold.

His grandchildren are pious, respectful and intelligent; the kind of kids any parent or grandparent would be delighted to acknowledge. They are all quite a testament to the man he was.

He was generous and helpful to his friends and neighbors, and they turned out en masse for his funeral. I overheard one of the many mourners say, “Dean was good people.” It seems he was a marvelous role model not only to his family, but to his community, as well.

His only failing, as far as I can tell, was to leave us all far too soon.

Rest in peace, Uncle Dean.


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