|Dr. Benton Charles Allen, Jr., of Galesburg, passed away on November 27, 2012, at Galesburg Cottage Hospital after a brief illness. Ben was born on June 15, 1932, on the family farm in Alta, Illinois, to Dr. Benton C. and Lura (Harlan) Allen. He was delivered by his grandfather, who was both a veterinarian and a surgeon. Ben married Ruth Large on July 17, 1955, and she survives.
Ben graduated from Dunlap High School in 1950. In 2004, he received the Dunlap High School Distinguished Alumni Award. Ben attended the University of Illinois, receiving both a B.S. in Agricultural Studies and a D.V.M. in Veterinary Medicine. He was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. He practiced veterinary medicine for over 40 years, first in Dunlap and then in Galesburg. Ben often remarked that it was great to wake-up every morning and look forward to going to work. He was a lifetime member of the AVMA and the ISVMA, serving on the state board.
Ben was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church and served the church in many capacities, including serving as an elder, deacon, choir member, and Youth Club volunteer. He also served on the First Friend Program, making regular visits to church members who were shut-in or nursing home residents. In the mid 70's, he took part in a mission trip to Guatemala.
Ben was a long-time and proud member of Kiwanis, receiving its Hixton Award for community service. He served on both the District #205 School Board for seven years and the Regional School Board for over 25 years. He was a member of Soangetaha Country Club.
After retiring from the Knox Veterinary Clinic, Ben began his second career as a community volunteer. He was a passionate advocate for children as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). He was a reading buddy, a hospice volunteer with Hospice Compassus, and thoroughly enjoyed his Friday duties at the Fish Food Pantry.
In his "spare" time, Ben enjoyed playing bridge, traveling, and gardening. He enjoyed following the GHS girls basketball team and other GHS teams, the Fighting Illini, and the Cubs. There was nothing Ben enjoyed more than visiting with his wonderful friends and family. He did not know a stranger and was genuinely interested in every person who he met.
Ben is survived by his wife, Ruth; two daughters, Amy (Evan) Massey, of Galesburg, and Amanda (R.J.) Robertson, of Murphysboro, Illinois; one son, Curt, of Conyers, Georgia; five grandchildren, Erin, Amelia, and Samantha Allen, Greg (Becky Garcia) Allen, and Allen Massey; and one great-grandchild Ayla Nicole Allen. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Bill and Lee Allen, sisters Eunice Allen and Elizabeth Lemons, and one son, Brad.
Ben was a caring, compassionate, and giving soul and will be sadly missed by his family and friends. As the Dr. Suess quote on Ben's refrigerator states, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
There will be a private service at Hinchliff-Pearson-West. Burial will be at noon on November 30, 2012, at the Mt. Hawley Cemetery in Peoria, Ill Rte 40 North Peoria County. There will be a Celebration of Life service at the First Presbyterian Church at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, December 7, 2012. The Rev. David Parker will officiate. The family will receive friends after the service.
Memorials may be made to the First United Presbyterian Church or one of Benís favorite charities. Online condolences may be made at www.h-p-w.com