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DAVID ALLEN

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David W. Allen 1922-2012 David Walton Allen of Mill Valley, distinguished Bay Area psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, died April 1, 2012, of Alzheimer's disease. His beloved wife Sallie predeceased him; both willed their bodies for science to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1922 to John and Marydel Allen, David attended Northwestern University where he met Sallie Peelle whom he married in 1944. He served in the US Army in WWII, attending the University of Louisville School of Medicine while enlisted. He was recalled to active duty in the Korean War, serving as an army psychiatrist. After medical residencies in Colorado and North Carolina, he and Sallie settled in Mill Valley in 1954. They lived in three different houses on Magee Avenue near the old grade of the "crookedest railroad in the world" which crisscrossed Mount Tamalpais a hundred years ago. David practiced psychiatry and psychoanalysis in San Francisco for 45 years. He was respected by colleagues and patients for his gentle, ethical, and professional demeanor in personal and political realms. He counted among his friends important mental health professionals including Karl Bowman, Fred Alston, and Enoch Calloway. David was Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF and the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, and President of the Northern California Psychiatric and San Francisco Medical Societies. He received the UCSF Charlotte Baer Teaching Award and the Elliot Royer Award for significant contributions to the advancement of psychiatry and neurology. He led the psychiatric community against Governor Ronald Reagan's ultimately successful efforts to disassemble California's renowned mental health system-a political decision that arguably increased the mentally ill homeless and prison populations. He worked tirelessly to perfect legislation on the issues of confidentiality and the duty to warn. He publicly denounced an infamous neurosurgeon, firmly stating that frontal lobotomy should be illegal, an event later recounted in a PBS special. He wrote the psychoanalytic classic, "The Fear of Looking," and contributed chapters to psychiatric texts. He wrote articles for the San Francisco Medical Society and a monthly column of poetic comments from patients in psychotherapy. He captured many poignant thoughts and his love for Sallie in his own beautiful poetry. David was an athlete. He wrestled in college. He and Sallie rode their bicycles throughout England in a 1949 post-war honeymoon. He could beat all other fathers in swimming, assuring the Allen children of victory in any father-child relay. He was legendary among friends for racing in the Dipsea cross-country run from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach for years, and for jogging mid-day from his office on California Street to the Medical Society to conduct meetings in sweaty attire. David was proud to be one of four generations of Allens whose practice of medicine and psychology spanned more than a century: His uncle, Victor Allen (general practitioner), children Brock (instructional psychologist), Terry (pathologist), and Sarah (internist); daughter-in-law Kim (prison physician, public health officer); and granddaughters Celeste (pediatrician) and Sophia (psychologist). In addition to these offspring, David is survived by his son Stone, granddaughter Elizabeth Blagg, and great granddaughters Lucia Genone, and six-week-old Chloe Krumboltz, whom he met a few days before his death. The family wishes to thank the Sequoias Retirement Center for years of loving care and suggests donations to the UCSF Foundation in his honor.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Apr. 16, 2012
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