Daniel Allan
1940 - 2018
{ "" }
Share Daniel's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Daniel Spencer Allan

July 12, 1940 - July 24, 2018

Dan died on July 24, 2018 after a full and eventful seventy-eight years of life. He survived metastatic prostate cancer for two years and remained full of life and in good spirits to the end.
Predeceased by his parents and brother Christopher, Dan is survived by his wife of 35 years, Elizabeth (Liz), son Timothy, daughter Nora, sister Catherine, and brother Andrew – as well as his niece, nephews, cousins and their children scattered widely through the West and around the globe.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, the eldest of four to Robert E. and Patricia M. (Hugg) Allan, Dan spent his early years in the wild western edge of Dearborn during the 1940s. Dan excelled in school and was valedictorian of his Rochester High School class of 1958 before attending Yale University where he received his B.S. in Physics in 1962. He followed that with a M.S. in Semiconductor Physics from Purdue University in 1964, during which he got his first "dream job" as night-shift operator of the school's new mainframe computer, the massive IBM 7090. Two more dream jobs followed – a summer job at Los Alamos, New Mexico working with nucleonic systems and then a permanent position at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California where he helped develop NASA's Deep Space Network, used to communicate with astronauts and satellites that explored the solar system and beyond. He earned a M.S. in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford University and joined the Stanford Research Institute (SRI International) as a telecommunications consultant for 30 years, playing a key role in developing Kuwait's telecommunications system as well as the statewide telecommunications network for Alaska. For both work and pleasure, he travelled through much of Europe, the Middle-East, Asia, South America, and Australia.
Though Dan considered himself a true engineer in terms of his stubbornness and ingenuity, his passions reached farther and included cooking, wine, music (the Yale Glee Club, the Society of Orpheus & Bacchus, and the Yale Alumni Chorus), theater (lead roles in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas with the Stanford Savoyards), and the outdoors. Among his favorite memories were camping with family and close friends in the Minarets region of the Sierras and at Wonder Lake in full view of Denali. He considered the wilderness to be his "church".
Dan was a true character and will be remembered by all who knew him for his tall tales, outrageous stories, and countless 25-cent bets over dubious claims. He delighted in absurdity, often pointing it out with mock sternness: "Now wait just a minute…", an indulgent drawl "You guys…", or best of all, with his wonderful hearty laugh. He took pride in being the loudest, most embarrassing dad on the sidelines of his children's childhood sports games and taught them how to spot BS from a mile away, which backfired on him beautifully and often.
His only regret was never winning the Nobel Prize - which might have happened, he would quip, if he hadn't peaked quite so early. Despite that one concession, he considered his life to be one exceptionally well-lived.
A celebration of his life is planned in October.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Aug. 16 to Aug. 19, 2018.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
8 entries
September 7, 2018

"Of what avail art thou
To serve us now?..."

...but thanks so much
for all you have done
to bring camaraderie
and joy to the Stanford
Savoyards and decades
of audiences.
Mason Blacher
August 20, 2018
Much loved friend and neighbor for 32 years will be missed for all the great times together, shared martinis, and really bad red wine from Dan's personal collection (and many good ones too!). Love to Liz, Nora and Tim.
August 20, 2018
I sang with Dan in many venues and his humor and enthusiasm will be missed!
Chris Dant
August 20, 2018
An Allan Christmas photo
For my annual April visit to see Dan and Liz, Dan would prepare a musical quiz to stump me. The quiz would be four musical selections each by a well-known composer, but idiosyncratic. I would have to name the composer. Dan allowed three guess for each selection.

He took great pride in the quizzes and even great pleasure when I was stumped. Sometimes I would bat 1,000, sometimes only 500 but we always enjoyed the game. Though it pains me to admit, I did learn things about music from Dan. The two most memorable selections were Music for the Theater by Shostakovich, and a Beethoven piano sonata with a section that sounded like boogie-woogie100 years before boogie-woogie. Dan could be data light at times (thank you, Nora) but he was always passionate and adamant about his views/ideas. And when you did catch him making things up, he'd always laugh heartily. Here's to you, Dan Allan. I shall surely miss your quizzes and your spirit.
Michael Pettersen
August 20, 2018
Quelle triste nouvelle que la disparition de Dan, notre très estimé collègue de SRI International, aussi brillant ingénieur qu'homme de coeur et ami fidèle.
Nous sommes avec vous, Liz, Tim et Nora.
Francois Chavaudret
August 18, 2018
My condolences.
August 18, 2018
I am so sorry for your loss. May you receive strength and comfort from God. "He will make you firm, he will make you strong, he will firmly ground you." - 1Peter 5:10
August 17, 2018
I have fond memories of sharing meals at Harry's Hofbrau and Sixteen Mile House while we listened to our spouses play in the San Francisco Banjo Band. He was always warm and gracious and fun.
Marilyn Cooney
Marilyn Cooney
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences