After serving in the US Army, Mr. Allen graduated from Albion College in 1951 with a degree in chemistry and business. For more than 43 years, he owned several businesses all serving the graphic arts industry, most notably Industrial Oil and Varnish (ultimately known as Iovite, Inc) as well as Ampac Inc. He also had a great love of photography, which led him to his second career in portrait photography, which he operated for more than 15 years.
Steve Schmidt, VP procurement – pigments and global category leader intermediates for Sun Chemical, recalled Mr. Allen’s dedication and kindness.
“Dick Allen was a very nice man,” said Schmidt. “He was the only person to make a sales call on me on a Saturday morning during a 10K run in Muskegon.
“He called me last minute to see me in Muskegon plant around 1980 to sell us some alkyd for the new Muskegon flush plant,” Schmidt continued. “That Friday I could not see him and he asked about Saturday. I advised him that I was running in the 10K run for Mercy Hospital in Muskegon on Saturday morning. So on Saturday morning just before the race, up walks Dick Allen in his running gear with an official entrance number, and we proceeded to run the ‘Mercy Metric’ 10 K together and talk about alkyd for our flush plant. Only time in history for me to talk business during a run.”
Ink Systems, Inc. president Urban Hirsch III recalled how Mr. Allen helped him learn about the use of vehicles in litho inks.
“Dick Allen was an instrumental influence for me,” Hirsch said. “When I started in the ink industry 56 years ago, I would go to his plant and learn about the vehicle side of the business. He taught me the importance of the vehicle side of building inks. He was a good supplier.”
Paul Cummins was Iovite’s manufacturing manager. He spoke of Mr. Allen’s determination to take care of his employees and customers after a fire destroyed Iovite’s manufacturing facility.
“I met Richard Allen in 1974, when I started work at Industrial Oil and Varnish – Iovite,” Cummins said “‘Mr. Allen,’ as I always called him, was an exceptional leader dedicated to his business, family and his employees. Shortly after I was hired, a fire completely destroyed the Chicago Heights plant. He was determined not to let the business, his family or his employees down, so he immediately planned the rebirth of the company.
“A few days after the fire, he called all the employees together and said that a plan was being developed to supply our customers and that he would keep everyone working,” Cummins added. “We never missed a paycheck. Within weeks we were producing product at three toll processing plants.
“Mr. Allen made sure that all his employees were assigned to work at the various plants while on Iovite’s payroll,” Cummins continued. “He wanted to make sure that the product that he was providing to his customers maintained high quality standards. He lost the entire production facility but never failed to provide his customers product. You see, as a leader he understood that maintaining his trained staff would ensure the continued success of his business. He never gave up hope in what may have been one of the most difficult times of his life. His leadership and fortitude gave new life to his business. He not only provided for his family but for all the families that based their livelihood on Iovite.
“For all who knew Mr. Allen, he was a true leader and a caring person of family and employees, and he will be remembered by all whose lives he impacted,” Cummins concluded.
Mr. Allen is survived by his wife, Donna; sons Paul, Christopher, Steven and Eric; 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated and welcomed at the Crete Pantry, 1367 Wood St., Crete, IL 60417.