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Robert T. ‘Tommy’ Allen (11-03-2016)

Robert T. “Tommy” Allen, PhD, passed away from heart
failure on Friday, October 21, 2016, at the age of 76.
He was born December 14, 1939 in Farmerville, LA,
graduated from high school in 1958, earned a BS in entomology
from Louisiana State University in 1962, and
an MS in 1964. He joined the faculty of the University
of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 1968 and received his PhD
(1969) from the University of Illinois in 1969. While at the
University of Arkansas, Tommy worked on the ecology
of ground beetles and became curator of the Arthropod
Museum. Due to his own collecting, that of his many
graduate students, and by arranging for the purchase of
important collections, he is credited with expanding that
museum from a small voucher collection of crop insects
into a highly valued systematic research collection with
specimens from all over the world, many from habitats
that no longer exist.
Tommy was a founding member of the Willi Hennig
Society and a member of many other entomological associations.
He published numerous articles, described many
new species, and coauthored the book, “Only in Arkansas,”
on endemic species of Arkansas. In 1991 Tommy accepted
the position of Chair of the Department of Entomology
and Applied Ecology, at the University of Delaware. He
focused his research on the systematics and biogeography
of the Symphyla, Diplura, and Protura (small soil
arthropods) and was considered a world expert on those
groups. Upon retirement in 1996, Tommy continued his
work, traveling and collecting extensively throughout
the United States. He was designated a Research Fellow
at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and an
Adjunct Professor, Mississippi Entomological Museum,
Mississippi State University, Starkville, and donated
over 25,000 additional specimens from his personal collection
of North American insects to those institutions.
He continued to have many close friends in his field and
was particularly grateful to Dan Otte, PhD (ANSP) and
Richard Brown, PhD (Mississippi Entomological Museum)
for their support.
Tommy was preceded in death by: His parents, Robert
Jehu “Cotton” and Bebe Allen; his sisters, Sunshine Sturgeon
and Mazie Jane Allen.
He is survived by: His wife, Suzanne Allen; his children,
R. Jehu “Jay” Allen and Hannah S. Allen; as well as many
other family members and friends.
Visitation was held from 10-11 a.m. on Friday, October
28, 2016, St. Joseph Catholic Church at in Starkville, followed
by a funeral Mass. A private internment ceremony
will be held at Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights,
Minnesota at a later date. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made in his
memory to The God’s Child Project, 721 Memorial Hwy,
Bismarck, N.D. 58504.
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