Funeral services for Clinton Lawrence “Clint” Allen, 91, West Plains, Missouri, will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, October 19, 2019 in the Rose Chapel at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.
Clint Allen, Wright Brothers Master Pilot, certified flight instructor, A&P Mechanic, aerobatic showman, and accomplished entomologist called “wheels up” for the last time Saturday, October 12, 2019 in West Plains, Missouri, as he peacefully joined his guardian angel and wife of nearly 63 years, Marge.
Clint would have been 92 years old in just a few weeks. He is survived by daughter Janis Bartlett and husband, David, of Corpus Christi, Texas, son Larry Allen of Mount Pleasant, Tennessee; two grandchildren, Anne Marie Cleveland and husband, Jeff, of Milner, Georgia and Matthew Allen Jarvis; four great-grandsons; one great-great-granddaughter; and two sisters, Lou Anne Kirby and Margee Shaffer and husband, Richard.
He was born November 14, 1927 in Tucson, Arizona and grew up on a family-homesteaded cattle ranch in Paige Canyon in the Rincon Mountains southeast of Tucson. Led by the creative and tenacious spirit of his mother, Elizabeth Taylor Allen, and the practical, Texas-style wisdom of his father, Daniel Allen, Clint grew to be a strong, handsome leader. He graduated from Benson Union High School in 1945. Although Clint did play on the 6-man football team (there were only 14 total in his graduating class), he would always freely admit that he wasn’t much of an athlete. He went on to graduate from the University of Arizona (BS Agriculture) in 1950, and earned his MS (in Entomology) from that same university in 1960. On March 23, 1951, he married the love of his live, Marjorie (Marge) Sonnenschein. He and Marge shared 63 years together, until her passing in February 2014. During that time they raised their two children, Larry and Janis, and steadfastly supported each other. In the 1960’s, Clint worked for Farmers Investment Company (FICO). Originally a company dedicated to growing cotton, Clint investigated the potential for and directed the planting of the first pecan trees in the hot Arizona desert south of Tucson. These fist efforts would eventually lead to establishment of the largest irrigated pecan orchard in the world. Of all that could be said about Clint, three things stand out most strongly. He loved his wife, Marge. He loved the Ozarks. And, he loved flying. Marge and Clint spent their early years in Arizona. First in the mining towns of Douglas and Bisbee, where Clint worked doing agricultural research for the mining company, Phelps Dodge, and then in Tucson, as Clint became a leader in the agricultural diversification of southern Arizona. Later, they would live in Mineral Wells, Texas; Lafayette, Louisiana; Ft. Worth, Texas; and finally West Plains, Missouri. Clint grew up in the rugged Rincon Mountains, where scrub oak and cactus were the primary vegetation. But, he dreamed of the gently rolling hills, oaks, and walnut trees of the Ozarks. In the mid-60’s, Clint and Marge found their piece of Clint’s dream in West Plains. Together, they put blood, sweat, and tears into creating a homestead. During one summer, they lived in a tiny travel trailer (with an outdoor shower) while they cleared land and built the barns and buildings that would shelter their cattle. Later, in the early ‘90s, when they finally retired to West Plains, Clint bought cattle (Marge named them all). Clint built fences and cleared pastures. Marge raised the goats and made a warm, cozy home for her and Clint. But, every time Clint looked out, to the beautiful pasture that sloped down from the back of their home, he saw a landing strip. Flying was on many people’s minds in 1927 when Clint was born. Charles Lindbergh had made the first solo transatlantic flight, and it almost seems as if Clint Allen was born with that same spirit of adventure. Money was tight but, as a young college student, Clint convinced the flight school administrator to trade work washing the training planes for hours of instruction. Soon Clint was in the air! There may be those who learn to fly, but never really LOVE it. But a PILOT… a pilot is BORN to fly. Clint Allen was a true PILOT! Despite his successes, he enjoyed agriculture because it kept him in contact with people who flew, the crop dusters. The lands owned by FICO stretched from the Mexican border north to Phoenix. An Aeronca Champ was the sensible pilot’s solution! Take off at sunup; work all day; land at dusk…a great life! In the mid ‘60s, with the Vietnam War in full swing, he got word that the military was hiring civilians at its Primary Helicopter School in Mineral Wells, Texas. Clint’s wheels were up and, with his family, he headed to Mineral Wells. Four years later, with the war over, the call came from Petroleum Helicopters, in Lafayette, Louisiana, where Clint would spend the next several years flying men and equipment to the offshore oil rigs. Back, with his feet firmly on dry land, he worked at Aerospatiale (now Airbus Helicopters SAS) in Grand Prairie, Texas as their only flight-rated Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic. Having earned and maintained single engine and multi-engine fixed wing ratings, he also earned and maintained instrument, instructor, and A&P ratings for both fixed wing and rotary wing (helicopter) aircraft. During his entire flying career, more than 65 years, Clint was never involved in a single recordable flying incident. However, these many accomplishments pale compared to the love he, aided by his many friends from the EAA Chapter 1218 and the Missouri Pilots Association, put into building the 3/4 scale Curtiss Jenny biplane that was delivered to and displayed at the Springfield-Branson Airport in May of 2016. The only sadness was that his copilot of 63 years, Marge, was not able to see it happen. Clint has new wings now. He and Marge are together, and those wings will have no tethers!
Visitation will be held from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m., Friday, at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Howell Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research, 110 E. 42nd St. 16th Floor, New York, New York 10017 and may be left at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.