Thomas Allen, Jr., of Vermillion, died on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, at the
Sanford Centennial Hospice Cottage in Sioux Falls. He was 71. A service
was held Sept. 30 at Hansen Funeral Home, officiated by Pastor Steve Miller.
Tom was born on March 22, 1942, in Philadelphia, PA, to Thomas and Cecilia
(Laccheo) Allen. He was raised in Cleveland, OH, where he earned a
baccalaureate degree at Chase Western Reserve University. He also earned a
Master’s degree in criminology at Kent State University, and a Ph.D. in
sociology. In 1967, he was appointed to a professorship in the University of
South Dakota’s Department of Sociology, where he taught for 41 years,
retiring in 2008 at the age of 66.
Professor Allen taught a number of courses at USD, particularly in the areas
of juvenile delinquency, penology and women in prison. H was instrumental –
first of all by obtaining a $250,000 grant – in developing the criminal
justice program at USD, now housed within the Department of Political
Science, now a highly-popular major within the College of Arts and Sciences.
He also consulted with law enforcement agencies statewide and nationally,
including the South Dakota court system and police agencies, various legal
representatives and the National Humanities Council on Child Abuse.
During his years spent teaching in the sociology department, Professor Allen
also served for some years as the director of the Social Science Research
Institute, and as field coordinator of the department’s internship program.
In 2005, he received the USD Distinguished Professor Award. Tom was a
popular teacher, advisor and mentor to generations of USD undergraduate and
graduate students. After his retirement, Tom was involved in – often
organizing – charity organizations benefiting children, families and victims
of crime, including organizations based in Sioux City, IA. He was also
involved in programs benefiting youth sports, having been himself a notable
athlete in his youth.
Beginning in his high school years, Tom was so promising a baseball player,
at the position of catcher, that he played eventually within the farm system
of the Chicago White Sox and had a brief sojourn in The Show before an
injury cut short his career. Tom also played college football, as defensive
back, and drove race cars semi-professionally. He was a fine car mechanic,
craftsman and carpenter. He traveled extensively, particularly abroad,
including to eastern Europe before the Iron Curtain fell, to Asia and
Africa, and most often to England, a country which he loved and came to know
Tom was married on Jan. 24, 1991, to Sharon Krug, originally of Mott, ND,
who also was employed at USD. Sharon died in September 2009, having been
lovingly cared for by Tom throughout her final illness. He was also preceded
in death by his parents. Tom is survived by his cousin Richard of Hawaii,
with whom Tom grew up in Cleveland; by his step-sons Corey (Kristen) Thie
and Chris (Dawn) Thie, all of Sioux Falls; and by their young children Aiden,
Addison, Eden and Caden. He is remembered by his colleagues and friends
“back east” and throughout USD, Vermillion, Guy Fawkes and other area