Allen passed away May 28, 2020 in Sun City, AZ. Allen was born in Pettisville, OH on April 19, 1935, the eldest of four children, to LeRoy and Lueta Brand. He was raised in Garrett, IN and graduated from Garrett High School in 1953, lettering in football, basketball, and baseball. He attended Tri-State College (now Trine University) in Angola, IN, where he studied engineering and played varsity basketball, graduating in 1956 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Allen worked for Bell Aerospace in Wheatfield, NY from 1957 to 1989. He was a Systems Test Engineer on the Agena rocket engine, which was used to deliver hundreds of payloads into space, including NASA’s manned Gemini missions. In 1964, Allen became a Senior Test Engineer, and worked on the ascent rocket engine used in the Apollo missions’ Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). He received a NASA Apollo Achievement Award as a member of the ascent engine test team that helped culminate the first moon landing, Apollo 11, on July 20, 1969.
In 1991, Allen moved to Sun City, AZ and reinvented himself, starting Al’s Handyman Service, Inc. and becoming “Al the Handyman”. He provided all services, specialized in tile work, and charged only $15 per hour to assure that he would always be busy. He applied his engineer’s mind to his tile work, creating precise and beautiful installations for his clients.
Eventually, knee and hip surgery forced Allen to put away his trowel and wet saw, retiring himself completely in 2013. He spent the next three years living part time in Kendallville, IN, to help care for his elderly mother. He returned to Sun City permanently in 2016.
Allen had a life-long love of the outdoors and sports. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, was an ace at pitching fast-pitch softball, and a deadeye shooter in basketball. Allen will be remembered for his mathematical mind, his care with money and his generosity, his idiosyncrasies, and his incredible persistence.
Allen is survived by his son, Alan; daughter-in-law, Diane; and granddaughter, Zuhra, of Dunedin, FL; son, Joel of Phoenix, AZ; brother, Robert (Sharon) Brand of Leesburg, FL; and sister, Nancy (Ron) Hashberger of Kendallville, IN; several nephews and a niece. He is preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Alice Vanarsdall.
Allen will be interred at Fairfield Cemetery in Fairfield Township, DeKalb County, Indiana, at a date to be determined in 2021.