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Allan Blackman ’58

May 1, 2022, in Seattle, Washington.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Allan was the youngest of four children. The family lived above Blackman’s, the deli and ice cream store they ran that was famous all over Philly for the “Blackman dip,” the huge scoops of ice cream they served. After graduating from high school, Allan came to Reed, where he wrote his thesis, “An Investigation of Piaget’s Theory of the Development of the Concept of Right and Left in Children,” advised by Prof. Carol Creedon [psychology 1957–91]. He went on to earn a master’s degree in urban planning from UC Berkeley, where he served as president of the Berkeley Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

An enthusiastic cyclist, Allen rode nearly every day of his adult life. He helped lead cycling tours in New Zealand and made many friends over the years taking reservations as a representative for New Zealand Pedal Tours. As a member of the Cascade Bicycle Club for more than 20 years, he served as the chair of the Advocacy Committee.

He was the author of Face to Face With Your Draft Board (1969) by the World without War Council, which was widely used by conscientious objectors and their counselors. In collaboration with his nephew, Neil, he also wrote A Thoughtful Conscience: Questions and Answers about Objecting to War, a book of the correspondence between the two. Allan counseled Neil on becoming a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War.

The majority of Allan’s professional career was as a planner at Group Health in Seattle, where he served as a program director in the graduate program. He was instrumental in the creation of the Master of Health Administration graduate program at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and was part of the ACT Health (now Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute) study to find ways to delay or prevent dementia and declines in memory and thinking. The study, which has been continuously operated since its start in 1986, is the longest-running study of its kind, and Allen participated for many years. Of the roughly 6,000 participants, only 800 made provisions in their wills for their brains to be autopsied by the study. Allan was proud to be among those 800.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2022

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