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Charles "Tom" Allen

Charles "Tom" Allen

October 9, 2018

Charles ‘Tom’ Allen, 72, of Menomonie, passed away on October 9, 2018 at Mayo Clinic Health System in Bloomer, WI.

Tom was born on February 7,1946 to Leo and Annabel Allen and grew up on a farm outside Jacksonville, IL with sisters Mary Kay, Rita and Patricia. Leo and Annabel instilled the values of education, hard work, gratitude, and generosity; evident in how he lived his life. Tom was married to Peg in 1969 and had daughters Jennifer and Jill. Although they later divorced, Tom and Peg were a great team in raising their daughters. Nephew, David Pfeiffer became ingrained in Tom’s life when he moved to Menomonie to attend the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Tom was an avid learner, earning a Bachelor’s degree from Quincy University and a Master’s degree from Illinois State University, both in Psychology. He spent his professional career at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in the Department of Psychology from 1970 until his retirement in 2008 and developed many friendships along the way. Teaching was his passion, as was faculty governance and curriculum development.

Tom was a man with many interests. Photography was a hobby that captured poignant moments at family gatherings, out in nature and at his grandchildren's sporting events. He was enthusiastic about music, with an extensive collection and frequently attended live performances. Tom enjoyed nonfiction, thought provoking movies, and experiencing people and cultures off the beaten path. He was recognized for his dedication to the democratic process and his efforts to get out the vote, particularly with the university students. 

What gave him joy and filled his heart was his family, especially his grandchildren, his love for his girlfriend Janice Coker, and his close friend circles (poker, Log Jam, golfing). He should always be remembered having a smile, a beer, and great conversations with others.

Tom is survived by his daughters Jennifer (Steve) Dodridge of Wauwatosa, WI and Jill (Jim) Zeisler of Mequon, WI; sisters Mary Kay (Harland) DeGroot of Springfield, IL and Patricia (Kurt) Weber of Teutopolis, IL; grandchildren Max and Ava Dodridge, and Owen, Liliana and Jimmy Zeisler; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents Leo and Annabel Allen and sister Rita Pfeiffer.

A Celebration of Tom’s life will be held Sunday, November 4, 2018 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Log Jam located at 709 Broadway St. South, Menomonie, WI.

Memorials may be directed to the Stout University Foundation, PO Box 790, Menomonie, WI 54751 for the Tom Allen Scholarship.

Thompson Funeral Home & Chippewa Valley Cremation Services --Celebration of Life Center of Altoona, WI is serving the family.


Sunday, November 4, 2018 from2-5 p.m. at Log Jam 709 Broadway Street South, Menomonie, WI


  • James I Byrd I am truly saddened to hear of Tom's passing. I've spent the last few hours recalling some of our shared memories. Tom was one of my first friends at Stout. He was a trusted friend and confidant. I truly admired his personal and professional integrity and the unselfishness and generosity he showed to others. Also, the intensity and passion he showed about almost everything. He was a major reason for many of my positive memories of Menomonie.

    November 19 at 9:23pm

  • Sharon Franklin The world has lost a gentle soul. Rest In Peace, Tom Allen.

    November 4 at 7:19pm

  • Fredrick Menz Dear Tom ... I will miss you for your kindness, wry humor, and the works we were able to do together even though we were in different departments, but got involved in Driver Safety Education with the Department of Transportation and Vocational Technical Colleges. The thousand or so miles we traveled together around Wisconsin made us colleagues and friends. I must also say a post-humus thanks to Tom as it would not have been possible for me to be on faculty were it not for the fact that he and Dennis Dunn wrote the first grant application that brought the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center to UW-Stout. How can you not love someone like that? Rest well, Tom. No more pain.

    November 2 at 4:46pm

  • Donald J Stephenson Tom and I were good friends for a good long time. We taught some classes together, attended a lot of meetings together, ate some meals together, and played some golf together. Tom was a very good teacher and a very good colleague. I sat next to him a few months ago (ironically at another colleagues funeral) and he told me he would probably one of the next to go. I told him I certainly hoped that wouldn't be the case. He still had a smile on his face when we shook hands and parted that day. He will continue to live in my memories for a long, long time. Rest in peace my friend.

    October 29 at 2:57PM

  • LOUIS MILANESI I am very saddened to learn of Tom’s passing and the loss of true friend and colleague. I first met Tom in the MSP airport in early 1991. He had volunteered to meet one of the applicants for a faculty position in the UW-Stout psychology department, and I had the great fortune to be the applicant Tom was assigned to retrieve and shepherd safely back to Menomonie. I found Tom patiently waiting for me in the luggage claim area as this was in the ancient times before GPS enabled smart phones and modern text messaging. He immediately asked if I wanted to go somewhere to grab a beer and listen to some music on the way back to Menomonie. “Sure!” I said, while wondering if this was a clever behavioral test embedded in the interview process. The trip from MSP to Menomonie, including a layover in a bar in St. Paul took about three hours.

    I found that Tom would consistently give of himself for the benefit of others from that initial meeting until I left the university. He took much pride in being a member of the department which he helped shape and UW-Stout, but he never let personal pride shadow the growth of others, especially new members of the faculty. He patiently mentored us newbies (“kids” in the department is how I think he put it) and was always available to assist us in navigating the peculiarities of the university's processes and bureaucracies. His tolerance for our occasional brashness and boundless naivety became increasingly more appreciated by us as we welcomed the next generations. Thank you, Tom!

    October 24 at 1:20PM

  • Amy Gillett I met Tom the first day of my employment back in 1990. I got to know him through the table gatherings in the student center. Between 11 and 2, there was a table of faculty and staff, and a few brave students, who gathered most week days to eat and discuss, their classes, school politics, the community, local, state, and national politics, sports game outcomes and possible successes, and anything else that was worthy of discussion. The topics varied about every 15 minutes as one person would join us, others would leave for classes, meeting, office hours, or other duties. Our group was across campus. Ray from Placement, the Toms (Franklin and Allen) from Psych., Jill, Lynn, me from Education, Ron and Jim from Art and Design, Bill from the Student Center, Mike from SVRI, Elbert Sorrell from Risk Control, you get the picture. Oh, and congressmen and women, retirees, whoever wanted to join us was welcome. Always a lively discussion. I've missed those gatherings and discussions. Tom will be missed. He touch all of our lives in so many positive ways. AG

    October 23 at 10:24AM

  • betty jansen meet TOM at Pat's such a good man very sorry for your loss prayers sent to all the family

    October 22 at 4:17PM

  • Tom Franklin Tom interviewed me for a faculty position at UW-Stout at a national education conference in Washington D.C. forty-three years ago. I had stood in lines with my briefcase, hoping for a faculty job, with hundreds of others in what we called a “meat market.” Feeling demeaned, like I was on some human conveyor belt, I was met by Tom’s beautiful smile and what seemed like his outright excitement at having met me. The responsibilities of the job sounded like a good match, but it was Tom who brought me to Menomonie and my career at Stout.
    At that same conference Tom also interviewed and coaxed Mary Jane Rains to come to UW-Stout. For many years Tom, Mary and I co-taught a course called Research Foundations. That course involved the dreaded topics of research methods and statistics. It was a required course for nearly all graduate programs at the university. Not only did students learn the academic content, but they created the first detailed plans for their master’s degree theses. We pushed the students for their best efforts and we worked hard at it. Now decades later some of those students still talk about their pride in what they accomplished in that course. Tom designed that course. He is, without question, the finest course and curriculum architect I have ever known. I still marvel at how collaboratively we three worked under Tom’s leadership.
    For my thirty-three years at Stout Tom and I had neighboring offices and worked in the same department. During that time, our psychology staff developed new academic degree programs and the undergraduate program in psychology grew at one time to over 400 students, the fourth largest program on campus.
    In addition to the academic side of his career, Tom was a campus leader in faculty self-governance. At the university level he served in multiple governance roles, most notably on guidance for course and degree program curricula, and for two terms as University Faculty Senate Chair in which he led university faculty on all matters related to faculty rights, responsibilities and welfare. With his organizational and communication skills, his intellect, his penchant for history, his passion for democracy and justice, his service to UW-Stout’s students and faculty is celebrated.
    Tom and I have been retired for ten years now. With forty-three years of friendship, and living only blocks apart, we have shared more than careers. We have shared family histories, traveled together, partied and played together, reminisced together, watched each other struggle with illness, taught each other, and hoped for the future. In forty-three years, he once hollered at me. Once I hollered at him.
    I know him to be kind, humble, generous, discrete, trustworthy, steady, smart, adventurous, politically progressive, open to experience and to love.
    Time seemed urgent over the past two years as Tom has fought with cancer. His decline was evident, but so were his composure and dignity. During this period, we were blessed to have had some precious, intimate moments when we talked about all that we have shared.
    In talking about his relationship and love for Janice, Tom said, “In what I thought was the darkest time of my life, I experienced the brightest time of my life.” Who among us does not learn from this?
    Only three weeks ago, after Tom was taken off all cancer treatments, I asked him how he was coping. Not with his physical comfort, but how he was coping emotionally. He looked directly into my eyes and said, “I really thought, I really hoped, that I had another two or maybe even three years. I don’t. It is what it is. I accept it.” This was his truth. Who among us isn’t healed by this?
    My wife, Sharon, and I will always mourn the loss of our dear friend Tom in our lives. We will always keep him in our hearts. Our deepest condolences to all of Tom’s family and friends.

    October 22 at 11:07AM

  • David Pfeiffer Tom was my uncle, growing up he was a very enigmatic figure. Thankfully that changed. I lived with Tom, from 2009 to 2013, and I am very fortunate to have had a relationship with him during the most formative years of my life. I owe everything I have to him. Imagining where I would be today had he not intervened is incomprehensible. He offered me his assistance and opened his home to me. Tom was a very independent person who had a unique personality, he showed me unconditional love and empathy when I experienced my lowest points.

    Tom found true love, late in his life, with his partner Janice. The notion of Tom being in a romantic relationship was such a foreign concept to me, and to many of others, I am sure. It seemed like he would be a life-long bachelor, so set in his ways, that having another person change his life would be impossible. As soon as I met Janice and witnessed them together I could see how wrong I was. I don’t think anyone would be faulted for having some whiplash when hearing about it for the first time. But it was apparent that Tom had known Janice for many years and when they explored something beyond friendship it blossomed into a beautiful relationship and I couldn’t be happier that they found each other. Janice's love for Tom was unwavering. She has a permanent place within our family.

    Tom impacted the lives of many and I miss him tremendously.

    October 19 at 12:13PM

  • Michael Lawler Tom Allen was first my instructor, then my colleague, and through all of it, over nearly 43 years, my friend. Tom was always available and always supportive. His death has affected me profoundly and I will miss him for the rest of my days.

    October 11 at 11:13PM

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