Biography

 
 

Robert Allan

Mr. Allan was born Oct. 29, 1928, in Normal, the only child of E. Bruce "Shorty" Allan and Elizabeth (Watters) Allan. Like his parents, he attended Illinois State Normal University, graduating in 1951 with a bachelor's in music education.

On June 11, 1951, he married Sarah Jane Sweeney of Spring Valley. She survives, along with their five daughters: Mary Catherine (Randy) Schwichtenberg, Minnetonka, Minn.; Susan Allan (Perry Cartwright), Porter, Ind.; Nancy Koets, Minneapolis, Minn.; Patricia (Dave) Irion, Naperville; and Virginia Allan (Federico Goded), Madrid, Spain. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Sarah Newby, Christine and Emily Schwichtenberg, and Rachel and Mark Irion.

He conducted high school bands in Cerro Gordo and Hoopeston, Chillicothe, Blue Island, Danville and Eureka, before returning to Normal in 1972 as supervisor of music in Unit 5. In 1965, he earned a Master's in Music Education from ISU. His performing groups were consistently excellent, and his devotion to music and to his students was recognized in numerous awards. He was a past president of the Illinois Music Educators Association (1967-1971) and winner of the IMEA Distinguished Service Award in 1988. He was a charter member of the Illinois Bandmasters' Hall of Fame and the Illinois MAC Award winner in 1980. He was a frequent guest conductor and clinician and taught at numerous summer band camps, including the University of Illinois Summer Youth Music camp and Interlochen, in Traverse City, Mich.

Mr. Allan was a veteran, serving as an Army bandmaster in California and Washington state during the Korea conflict. As a young man growing up in Normal, he was a much sought-after vocal soloist (tenor) and euphonium player. An avid fisherman, he spent many hours on local waterways and was especially fond of watching the eagles on the Illinois River. Until his health failed, he was a lector at Epiphany Parish.