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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 from 2-5 p.m. at Log Jam 709 Broadway Street South, Menomonie, WI

Florist Information



  • 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 11:09am

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