Born April 3, 1933, in Dahlgren to Helen M. (Wilson) and Omar E. “Petie” Allen, Eddie passed away on July 16, 2013, in his home surrounded by family.
Mr. Allen was a corporal in the U.S. Army, serving during the Korean War from 1953 through 1955. Eddie was a barber by trade, graduating from Barber College in 1957 and retiring in 1995. The barber shop is still open on Main Street in Mt. Vernon.
Civic minded, he served on the Mt. Vernon Township High School Board, the Mt. Vernon Downtown Development Corporation, was an elected president of the Illinois Racking Horse Association, and coached Khoury League ball. During the 1980’s, Eddie was the radio voice of the McLeansboro Foxes on WMIX and was an integral community member of the Foxes’ winning seasons, creating and singing his own version of “Put another log on the fire.”
Omar loved music. His first musical love was barbershop harmony. He sang, directed, and coached quartets and choruses throughout Southern Illinois. Eddie won an international championship in 1959, singing tenor with the KordKickers. He was still teaching tags to a small group gathered at the farm in Dahlgren, less than a month ago. Eddie loved sports almost as much as music. Eddie earned a second Grant National title working Allen’s Little Lou during the AKC field championships in 1988. He won his third national championship title at the National Racking Horse Celebration in 1994, riding Shasta’s Delight.
Sadley, the “Cuz” took the westbound before his Chicago Cubs ever came close to winning a single championship. This did not keep him from watching or listening to thousands of Cubs broadcasts during his lifetime. His romance with radio broadcasting guided him into his post-retirement career. In 2000, following his iniitial cancer diagnosis, Eddie started his morning radio program, “The Cuzin Eddie Show” on WMCL Radio in McLeansboro. His eclectic mix of musical guests, old time radio recreations, reading, talking and laughing entertained his listening audience for 10 years. Some of his celebrity guests included: Kitty Wells, Eddie Rabbit, and Billy Grammar. He truly loved sharing his airtime with local talent, guests, and callers. The local celebrities were his favorites.
Mr. Allen is survived by his spouse, Sabrina Kae; a brother, Howard Allen and wife Lorie; three children, Daniel Allen and wife Michele of Dahlgren, Pamela Mandrell and husband Steve of Waltonville, and Owen Allen and wife Pamela of Ina; three stepchildren, Michelle Stevens, Nicole Karcher and Courtney Alvarez; 12 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He liked to say he had a hand in raising a whole bunch of kids and he was proud of all of them.
Omar Edward Allen will be cremated and requested no services. Donations in Eddie’s name can be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois.
A celebration of life is being planned on Oct. 12, 2013, in Dahlgren. The family will announce details soon.
Gholson Funeral Home of McLeansboro is in charge of arrangements.