Login | January 22, 2018

Longtime Buckingham attorney, civic leader remembered

Legal News Reporter

Published: December 28, 2017

A devoted civic leader, lawyer, patriot and family man—those are some of the labels used to describe longtime Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs attorney Ronald C. Allan.

The West Akron resident passed away peacefully on Nov. 26 while surrounded by family at the age of 80.

“My father was a patient, gentle parent who offered unconditional love to all his children,” said his daughter Jennifer Allan Soros. “He was dedicated to our intellectual and spiritual growth and he took an active interest in our lives, always delighting in his grandchildren.”

Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs partner David Kern said Allan was “a quiet, humble man who cared deeply about the Akron community and took strides to make it a great place.

“He was a wonderful guy to be around,” said Kern. “He was always smiling, very positive and talked about his family all the time.”

Born in Chicago on Oct. 5, 1937, he was the only child of Swedish immigrants Sven Gustaf Johansson and Christina Victoria Petersson.

His daughter said her grandfather changed the family name to Allan when her dad was a young child to avoid confusion at the local bank because “there were so many men with his name.”

Allan grew up in Evanston, Illinois where his father worked as a chauffeur and his mother was a maid. His daughter said her father was raised in the Lutheran faith and adopted many of its values including frugality, generosity and a dedication to serving others.

Allan graduated from Lyons Township High School, where he was an award-winning clarinetist and developed a lifelong love of music.

A Navy NROTC graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Allan served three years aboard the USS Altair in the Navy Supply Corps on the North Sea and the Mediterranean.

He met his wife Ann while stationed at the Boston Naval Shipyard in 1962. They got married within a year and eventually moved to Ohio, his wife’s home state.

They have three children, Jennifer, Katherine and Matthew.

After completing active duty, Allan remained in the Naval Reserve for an additional 23 years, retiring as a captain in 1993.

His daughter said her father took great pride in his military service. During most of the 37 years he lived in Fairlawn Heights, he appeared in uniform during the community’s annual Fourth of July parade.

Allan received his juris doctor from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor in the mid 1960s and initially practiced at a law firm in Chicago.

When he moved to Akron, he took a position at Brouse McDowell.

In 1979 he joined Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, where he handled a variety of business matters.

He retired from Buckingham in December 2016.

Patrick Keating, a partner at Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs said Allan was an informal mentor to him.

“Ron was one of the people who interviewed me for the job more than 30 years ago,” said Keating. “I remember as a young lawyer going out with Ron to meet clients and seeing how he would explain their legal problems to them and walk them through the process. He wanted to give his clients peace of mind.”

Keating said Allan was always committed to improving the community and was especially dedicated to the arts.

“He exemplified the values put forth by Lisle Buckingham, who wanted all of the firm’s lawyers to give back to the community.

“When Ron stepped down from a board position, he would always recruit another Buckingham attorney to take his place,” said Keating.

“Ron was a proud Michigan grad and every year before the Ohio State game he would come to the office in Michigan colors, even though he knew he would be teased.” 

Allan also interviewed Managing Partner John Slagter.

“I remember that during the interview he was very friendly and welcoming,” said Slagter. “He was interested in me as a person.

“When I later worked on matters for his clients, he provided useful insights and always seemed to be in great spirits.

“During the last few years before he retired, he was of counsel at the firm,” said Slagter. “He was still very involved in the firm and would frequently call me to provide advice on what I was doing well and what I could improve upon.

“I am honored to have known him and been partners with him.”

Allan’s longtime assistant Michele Workman said Allan taught her a lot.

“I always respected him as my boss, but I was also blessed to consider him my friend, confidante and advisor,” said Workman. “Ron was a very detail oriented person and whenever I made a mistake he would correct me, but he was never mean-spirited.

“He was a kind gentleman who did a lot for the city of Akron, but never sought accolades for it.”

During his time at the firm, Allan chaired several committees.

Robert Briggs, chairman emeritus, partner and former chief executive officer at Buckingham said Allan served on the board of directors during part of his tenure as president and was head of the hiring committee for a time.

“Ron was always willing to help in any way that he could,” said Briggs. “He was truly a servant leader.

 “He was an excellent lawyer, who served his clients, the community and his country.

“Ron and I became friends,” he said. “He was the kind of person you could talk to about anything and know it would be kept in confidence.”

A 50-year member of the Ohio State and Akron Bar associations, Allan served as director and secretary of the Akron Art Museum, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Greater Akron Musical Association Foundation, the Akron Community Foundation, the Akron Rotary Foundation and the Banks-Baldwin Foundation.

He was also director of the Akron General Foundation, director and a member of the executive committee of Akron General Health System and Akron General Medical Center as well as being a member of the advisory board of the Tuesday Musical Association and an emeritus member of the executive committee and advisory board of WKSU.

In addition, he served as president and director of Akron Roundtable, Family Services of Summit County, Old Trail School, Old Trail School Foundation and the Rotary Club of Akron.

After retiring Allan traveled from coast to coast to spend time with his kids and grandchildren.

“My dad relished music and was very proud of his Swedish heritage,” said Soros. “He was not afraid to root for the Michigan Wolverines and he enjoyed food and Bourbon served straight up.

“He also adored the community of Akron,” said Soros. “We encouraged him to retire closer to one of his grandchildren, but he missed his many friends and the organizations he loved in Akron.”

A memorial service was held to pay tribute to Allan on Dec. 13 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where his ashes were interred with military honors on Dec. 12th.

He’s survived by his wife Ann G. Allan, children Jennifer Allan Soros, Katherine Allan Morison and Matthew C. Allan and six grandchildren.