Richard J. McAllan
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(Asbury Park Press)

Richard J. McAllan, 58, of New York City formerly of Wanamassa, Ocean Township, died Thursday, March 26, 2009, at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in Washington Heights. He died of complications following quadruple bypass surgery. He is survived by his two brothers, Robert, of Wall Township and Frank, of Ashville, N.C., and his loving mother, Grace of Ocean Township.
Richard was the former President of Emergency Medical Service Local 2507 of District Council 37, and a New York City EMS Senior paramedic. A member of the first Paramedic class to graduate from Jacobi Hospital in 1974, Richard was a dedicated street medic who fought passionately to save lives. An idealist, he became a foe of a City bureaucracy which he believed did not serve the best interests of the public by not adequately funding EMS services.
As President, Richard made sensational news in exposing many cases of deadly delays that put New Yorkers lives in jeopardy. In the 1980s and 1990s he was part of a union team that forced the City of New York to shift budget resources, doubling EMS staffing and lowering EMS response times to critical emergencies from 12 to 15 minutes at its worst to six or seven minutes setting the stage for today's typical four to six minute response times for category 1 calls. Many people who never knew Richard or were treated by him are alive today because he fought so hard on their behalf.
In the 1980s he was pro active in identifying defects in the EMS ambulances the City had designed and put in service for unsafe conditions, including the tendency to catch on fire when left idling for extended periods of time. As a result the City replaced the entire fleet.
A tenacious fighter for justice and workers' rights, he never came across a cause that he believed was hopeless or a grievance that he felt he couldn't win. He was a bitter foe of the 1996 takeover of EMS by the NYC Fire Department. He later challenged in court the City's decision to buy substandard digital two way radios in the late 1990s, saying they would not be reliable in high rise buildings. Tragically, he was proven right on 9/11 with the loss of hundreds of NYC firefighters in the World Trade Center. That case was still pending upon his death.
Richard's battle against sometimes corrupt and unjust authority was a central characteristic dating back to his youth. A constant adversary of bullies in any form, he often put himself out to suffer the brunt of abuse. He was fearless in this regard. In grammar and high school he was a selfless supporter of anyone in distress. Often aligning himself with underdogs, he bore their retribution and remained undaunted. He was always a child and man of courage and conviction and compassion. For those who were his friends, when asked, their problems became Richard's as well. He spared not time nor expense to help those in need.
A hobby and favorite past time was his love of antique cars, from his first Pontiac Tempest convertible, to his Toyota Celica to his black Volvo. He also helped a close friend restore a 1967 Pontiac Catalina, an award winning fully restored muscle car of the 1960's.
Richard never married but over a 35 year span remained close to his dearest friend, Debbie Cross, of Elmsford, NY. She stayed at his bedside throughout the six weeks of his ordeal giving him the strength, courage and love he needed to fight his final battle.
Richard loved everyone around him and they, in turn, became part of his family. He will be missed by all.
Friends and family are invited to call from 7 to 9 PM on Monday, March 30, 2009, and from 2 to 4 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009, at the Ely Funeral Home 3316 Hwy. 33, Neptune, NJ 07753. A Funeral Mass will be held at 4:30 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009, at Holy Spirit Church, Asbury Park. Condolences may also be made online at

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Published in Asbury Park Press on Mar. 29, 2009.
Memories & Condolences
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19 entries
April 1, 2009
Bob...You are in our thoughts. May your memories of your brother bring you comfort.
Peter de Graaff
April 1, 2009
Best wishes to the McAllan Family, our prayers are with you.
Justin Tabas
March 31, 2009
I was always in awe of this man. For all he accomplished and for the passion, knowledge and integrity that he applied to his never ending pursuit of improving the EMS. ( yes that's US!!)
Edwin Martinez
March 31, 2009
Richie was a character- at once a thorn, a bandage, and a kind word- but always a character. He would show up when you least expected him, camera in hand, ready to capture the moment and comment on it, too. RIP Richie...send us back some pictures...we have yours engraved in our mind.
Art Nicolas
March 31, 2009 sorry to hear of your and your brother are in our thoughts and prayers.
Hamp Elliott
March 31, 2009
Bob, I am so sorry to learn of your loss. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers this week.
Darby Dickerson
March 30, 2009
Where would the state of EMS be without the past dedication of Rich McAllan in striving to make it the best that it could be? Thank you Rich, for all the selfless hours you invested in the cause. You leave behind a legacy that will always be remembered. May you rest in peace.
Toni Lanotte
March 30, 2009
Richie McAllan was always the champion of EMS causes - both as a Union official and as a member of the service. He will be missed as the photographic chronicler of so many important events in EMS history. We were all enriched by his dedication. May he rest in peace.
Kathy Robilotta
EMS AcademyT
March 30, 2009
Richard will always hold a warm place in my heart. His belief that he could save others and fight for all is an inspiration to us all. I can only hope his memory will inspire others to do better! With love to his family and friends, may his memory give you peace.
Gail Berger
March 30, 2009
Rich loved EMS and did everything he could to make it better. I will miss you, Rich. Marie Diglio, EMTP
Marie Diglio
March 30, 2009
I have a memory of Richie coming to my Station, Liberty Outpost, back in 1975. He was a Jacobi medic working overtime as an EMT and I thought to myself WOW a real PARAMEDIC! I had only seen them on TV; remember John Gage and Roy Desoto. Well right then I knew what I wanted to do and so when they began paramedic training again I applied for and was accepted to Jacobi Medic Class #2. I trained with and later worked with Richie
Vincent Mascoli, NYC Paramedic,Retired
March 30, 2009
Not all pioneers rode in Conestoga wagons: Richie rode in an ambulance. Not all crusaders carried swords: Richie carried a defibrillator. It is impossible for anyone who knew him to imagine Richie's energy, passion, compassion and tenacity gone forever. His many contributions improving the EMS system in NYC will always be remembered. I was delighted to have known you as a collegue and a friend.
J.P. Martin
March 29, 2009
The FDNY EMS Retirees Association will greatly miss Richard. He brought expertise from all his years at EMS to our Board of Trustees. Anyone that knows him will remember his passion for holding EMS to the highest standard of care and to improving the system. He invoked great emotion in those that knew him due to that passion. We will miss him.

Marianne Pizzitola
FDNY EMS Retirees Association
Marianne Pizzitola
March 29, 2009
Richard - I am so glad to have met you on Christmas 2006, and to have shared a memorable day with you and your mother. I will remember you fondly for the kindness and care you brought to our home. Here's a "virtual" hug and kiss from me.
Lisa Troccoli
March 29, 2009
Richard, Thank you for saving my finger on Christmas Day 2006. Glad we celebrated with "McAllan 25." I will always miss you and think of you with love. "Bye bye." See you when I get there ...
Ted Hall
March 29, 2009
I will pray for Richie and always remember His help and Caring for all of us.. Retired Lieutenant William Azar
William Azar
March 29, 2009
Richard was a wonderful high school classmate and will be missed. He remains in my thoughts and prayers.
Mary Dunn
March 29, 2009
My condolences to the family. Rich was a wonderful, compassionate neighbor who always took the time to listen and assist.
Elise Hokman
March 29, 2009
Richard J. McAllan was a friend and a great advocate for all World Trade Center Rescuers and citizens of New York City. He will be missed. The World Trade Center Rescuers Foundation sends its deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

William Gleason
World Trade Center Rescuers Foundation
William Gleason
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