There’s never been another person like Pierce Allman.
The long-time Park Cities community leader, preservationist, philanthropist, historian, and entrepreneur has best been known as the wind beneath Allie Beth Allman’s wings.
He died on Nov. 25 at the age of 88.
The Rev. Paul Rasmussen offered a stirring and lovely eulogy during the memorial service on Dec. 6 at Highland Park United Methodist Church.
The pastor compared his friend to Leonardo da Vinci (for his intellect), Forrest Gump (for his incredible life experiences), and Dick Clark (for his not aging). The SMU Band played an emotional rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Allman made his first impact as a Boy Scout. Five percent of Scouts reach the highest rank of Eagle, and not only did he achieve that rank, he was the youngest person in America to do so. It takes 21 merit badges to become an Eagle. This young man went from impressive to legendary when he continued to earn 104 of the 105 merit badges offered. In the world of Scouting, Allman was the talk of the nation.
He was a paper boy for The Dallas Morning News and earned a DMN scholarship to attend SMU, where he was head cheerleader, class treasurer, and recipient of the “M” Award.
I could list Allman’s civic, business and preservation accomplishments, but I don’t have the space, and you don’t have the rest of the day.
Highland Park High School? Distinguished Alumni Award.
SMU? Distinguished Alumni Award.
HP Methodist? On the same saintly level as George W. Bush and Brad Bradley.
Always a fashion plate, he originally sported a flat-top hairstyle on which you could land a small aircraft. He had the original “FM radio” voice – smooth, confident, and disarming.
When I told him about my idea to create Park Cities People, his eyes and entrepreneurial spirit lit up. He was encouraging and saw that this idea would be the ideal marketing tool for Park Cities real estate agents.
In the mid-1980s, I teamed up with Allman, Jennie Reeves, and Lindalyn Adams to save the oldest home in Highland Park from demolition. I brought in graphic designer John March. and we created “Save the House.” The campaign succeeded, and the Park Cities Heritage House now resides at Old City Park.
The final funds raised came from a black-tie gala. Since I was allergic to black-tie events, I wished my three co-chairs the best, and I slipped away. They went on to knock it out of the park.
The annual event, La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas, has now raised more than $10 million for Park Cities beneficiaries, including HPISD.
Much has been made of Allman speaking with Lee Harvey Oswald as the assassin was leaving the Texas Schoolbook Depository after President Kennedy was shot on Nov. 22, 1963. But that fateful day was not as important as six weeks prior when Allman married Allie Beth McMurtry, the pride of Graham, Texas. The two made a legendary team as husband and wife, parents, and business partners.
I recommend taking a tour of the Sixth Floor Museum, where you can hear the voice of Pierce Allman walking you through the displays. His voice, like his legacy, will live on forever.
Kirk Dooley, who co-founded “Park Cities People” in 1981, has long served as a leader and voice for his Highland Park and University Park neighbors.