Wayne B. Allen died Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008, at Community Hospital in McCook at the age of 89.
He was born Sept. 2, 1918, in McCook, the son of the late Robert I. and Josephine (Stewart) Allen. Wayne grew up on the family farm north of Red Willow School on Red Willow Creek and attended Red Willow Consolidated School. He graduated from McCook High School in 1936.
In January of 1942, Wayne enlisted in the Army Air Force's Air Cadet program and was sent to Santa Ana, Calif., for his basic training. In May of 1942, he was sent to Lowry Field at Denver, Colo., for training in Armament and Bombsight maintenance. He graduated in August of 1942, and received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. Being in the upper 10 percent of his class he was assigned to Automatic Pilot school at Lowry Field, graduating in November of 1942. After finishing training, he was sent to Salt Lake City, Utah for assignment. He was later sent to Biggs Field Texas at El Paso, Texas as an instructor and was later moved to the Air Base at Alamogordo, N.M., where he remained until May 1943. He was then sent overseas to Norwich, England in November of 1943, serving with the 8th Army Air Corp.
On Sept. 7, 1942, Wayne married Helen Dutton at McCook. Following his honorable discharge from the military he returned to McCook, where he began farming in 1946. From that time on until 1980, he raised wheat, corn, milo, soybeans and castor beans. In 1980, he sold the machinery to his son Ron and rented the farm land. In the early 1950s, Wayne started a cow herd of Registered Polled Herefords and marketed registered bulls. In 1962, Wayne purchased Perry Grain Company and expanded the company and storage. He was the first elevator operator to implement protein testing of wheat and rewarding farmers with price premiums for delivering a high quality, high protein product. In 1966, he started Perry Fertilizer with satellite plants in Stratton, Wilsonville and Indianola. In 1968 he started Lamar Fertilizer Company at Lamar in Chase County. During the 1960s through the 1980s, Wayne developed irrigated farmland in Chase, Hayes, Red Willow and Hitchcock Counties.
He was past president of Nebraska Wheat Growers Association and helped organize the Red Willow County's wheat growers. He was active in the wheat growers during the years when Japan was developed as a U.S. wheat market. He participated in trade shows where wheat product samples were given to the Japanese and baking schools were set up to teach Japanese women to bake bread and rolls. At that time the Japanese consumed more rice than wheat products. Wayne also guided the Japanese Secretary of Agriculture across the state, visiting farms and agribusiness. He was active when wheat growers were exploring the use of gasohol and made many trips to Washington D.C. on behalf of the wheat growers. He received the Man of the Year award from them in 1990.
In 1951, Wayne joined the McCook Masonic Lodge 135 A.F. & A.M., and was a member and past Commander of St. John's Commandry No. 16, past High Priest of King Cyrus Chapter 35 and past Illustrious Master of Occonoxee Council No. 16.
From 1957 to 1965, he served as the leader of the Driftwood Feeders 4-H club. During this time his sons, Ronald and Eric were active in 4-H. He was a member of the First Congregational Church where he served as moderator on the Board of Trustees and the pastoral selection committee. He served as youth group sponsor and sang in the church choir.
On April 3, 1987, Wayne married Betty (Roberts) Barney and they spent the remainder of his life in McCook.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert I. and Josephine (Stewart) Allen; brothers, Merritt and Joseph; sister, Edith Baird; and brother-in-law, James Baird.
Wayne is survived by his wife, Betty of McCook; sons, Ronald W. Allen and wife, Joanne E., of McCook and Eric B. Allen and wife, Barbara of Hutchinson, Kan.; brother, Jerry Allen and wife, Gwen of Salt Lake City, Utah; sister, Rachel Bayliss and husband Sam of Lubbock, Texas; grandchildren, Bonnie (Allen) Isom and husband, Loren of Lincoln, Eileen (Allen) Golus and husband,Rodney of Omaha and Andrew Allen and wife, Sarah of Cresco, Penn.; great-grandchildren, Garrett, Sheldon and Reanne Isom, Justin and Michael Golus, and Christopher and Elizabeth Allen; step-daughter, Merry Barney of Council Bluffs, Iowa; step-son, Earl Barney and wife, Chris of Gretna; step-grandchildren, specialist 4th class, Chance, Chase and Chip Beyer, Jeannie (Echtenkamp) Strain and husband, Scott of Omaha and Stacy (Echtenkamp) Souerdyke and husband, Kevin of Hebron; step-great-grandchildren, Erin and Regan Strain and Kyler and Laina Souerdyke.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday at First Congregational Church in McCook, with Rev. Steve Bales and Rev. Phil Ewert officiating. Interment will be in Riverside Cemetery in McCook
Memorials may be given in his name to First Congregational Church or the Senior Center in McCook. Friends may call at Herrmann Funeral Home in McCook from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Herrmann Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.