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The following article is taken from COMA, NEWSLETTER OF THE COASTAL AND MARINE GEOGRAPHY SPECIALTY GROUP OF THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN GEOGRAPHERS Vol. 14, No. 2  August 2002

 

In Memory―James R. Allen

 

James Allen from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Boston, MA passed away on July 30, 2002 at the age of 61. He had a heart attack on his morning train commute to Boston. Dr. Allen was a preeminent geomorphologist who studied erosion on East Coast shorelines for the US Geological Survey.

 

Dr. Allen spent three decades collecting data on beaches from Florida to Maine, studying shoreline changes caused by erosion and sediment. Mary Foley, regional chief scientist at the USGS's Boston office, said yesterday that Jim loved his job. ''You get to spend your life on the beach,'' she said. ''That's not so bad.''

 

Born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on March 3, 1941, Jim received his earlier degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Michigan. With a doctorate in physical geography from Rutgers University, Dr. Allen became an associate professor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and Northeastern University in Boston. He was hired by the National Park Service in 1981, which later was absorbed by the USGS. In 1997 the National Park Service named him the Northeast Region Scientist of the Year.

 

Neighbors said Allen commuted by train daily, taking the 10-minute walk from his home to the Wellesley Hills T stop each morning. His peers said he loved the Red Sox, and it was well known that Allen played hooky from work last week to attend an afternoon game at Fenway with his son, Fletcher.

 

The memorial service in celebration of his life will be held at 10:30 AM on Monday, August 19th, at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Wellesley Hills, 311 Washington Street, Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. Donations in his honor may be made to the Wellesley Free Library. Donations also may be made out to the Island Alliance, 408 Atlantic Ave; Suite 228, Boston, MA. 02110 (a non-profit organization) at which a fund in Jim's memory has been established for education and research in support of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area (Jim's research was instrumental in the formation of this park, which became part of the National Park system in 1996).

 

His colleagues yesterday mourned the loss of a devoted scientist and friend.

 

Portions of this story ran on page A26 of the Boston Globe on 8/1/2002.

Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.