Distinguished Alumnus
Class of 2014
Elmer Sherman “E.S.” Allen, Jr. M.D.
(September 2, 1908 – August 31, 1980)

AHS Class of 1927

L-R: Leanne Allen Harshbarger, Neal Allen

Elmer S. Allen, Jr. aspired to become a physician like his father and then return to Arcola to serve his home community. He was born in Arcola September 2, 1908, the son of Dr. Elmer S. and Hanna Rowlands Allen. A younger sister, Edyth Marian, died in 1912 at age two. Elmer attended Arcola schools, graduating with the class of 1927. While in high school, “Doc” Allen was trainer for the football team, played varsity basketball, was a member of the Latin Club, acted in school plays and was art editor on the yearbook staff.

Following high school, Dr. Allen attended Illinois Wesleyan University for three years and then completed his premedical education at Northwestern University in 1931. While at Illinois Wesleyan, Dr. Allen was a member of Sigma Chi social fraternity. He continued his studies at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, where he was a member of Nu Sigma Nu medical fraternity. During his years at Tulane, Dr. Allen met Jane Chloe Jarman, a student at Sophie Newcomb College. On June 11, 1935, the eve of his medical school commencement, Dr. Allen received word that his father had been involved in an automobile accident near Arcola. He and his mother, who had gone to New Orleans for her son’s graduation, promptly returned to Arcola to find his father’s injuries more serious than originally thought. Dr. Allen, Sr. passed away two weeks later. Dr. Allen then completed his twelve-month general internship, including surgery, at Illinois Central Hospital in Chicago.

While Dr. Allen had anticipated he would join his father in his medical practice in the office and home where he was raised at 120 South Locust St., he returned to Arcola to begin his private practice in December 1936, in the office that was formerly his father’s. He and Jane Jarman were then married June 30, 1937, in Oklahoma City, OK. The couple returned to Arcola, where Dr. Allen continued his medical practice and they lived above his office. Their first son, Stan, was born in 1938. As a reserve officer in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, Lt. E.S. Allen reported for military training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX, on February 13, 1941. He was then honorably discharged as a Captain in December 1941 and the Allen family returned to their home at 428 East Main St. Their family grew with the birth of Lianne in 1942 and Neal in 1944. Dr. Allen’s medical practice thrived as he treated countless patients in his office and in their homes, performed surgeries and delivered hundreds of babies, many in their homes in the early years. His medical staff privileges included Douglas Jarman Memorial Hospital and Mattoon Memorial Hospital. Dr. Allen studied professional hypnosis, as applied to medicine, in 1958 and was inducted into the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis that same year. He was also area physician and surgeon for the Illinois Central Railroad for many years. Dr. Allen was a member of Douglas County Medical Society, serving as both president and secretary, and was a moving force in the construction of Douglas County Jarman Hospital in the 1960s.

Arcola was well-served by Dr. Allen’s enduring commitment to our community. In December 1936, the same month he opened his medical practice, he was named board member for the former Arcola Alumni Association. He was elected to the Arcola Grade School Board for a two-year term in 1940 and again in 1944. Dr. Allen was also elected to fill a two-year vacancy on the Arcola City Council in 1951 and then re-elected in 1953. He was a Master Mason for forty-three years, City Health Officer for many years and held longtime memberships with Arcola Chamber of Commerce and American Legion. He also served as a charter member of the 1976 Arcola Foundation Board of Governors. Dr. Allen was a thirty-two year member of the Arcola Presbyterian Church, having served as trustee, deacon and elder, and was also a founding member and 1953 president of Kaskaskia Country Club. When time allowed, Dr. Allen enjoyed fishing, fly tying, golf and was a sixteen-year member of the Arrol Pharmacy Bowling team. He and Jane were licensed pilots and flew from Allen Air Field on their farm southwest of Arcola.

Dr. Allen practiced medicine in the same office for nearly thirty-nine years, until his health necessitated his retirement in May 1975. The Arcola community honored Dr. Allen and his family with a day of celebration on July 19, 1975. The widely publicized “Dr. Allen Day” included a parade with babies delivered by Dr. Allen, a program at the high school and dinner at Kaskaskia Country Club. It was reported Dr. Allen gave much credit to Jane for her help in achieving his life’s goals. At that time, the Dr. Allen Fund was established with Arcola Foundation to financially assist Arcola students who desire to practice medicine in Arcola. Medical instruments, equipment and furniture used in practice by Dr. Allen and his father, dating back to the turn of the 20th century, were later donated to the Douglas County Museum.

Dr. Allen passed away August 31, 1980, more than fifty years after he left Arcola to pursue an education that would allow him to serve his home community. His dedication to his patients and medical profession had served our community well. Jane Allen passed away April 19, 2009. She and Dr. Allen are survived by their three children, Stan, Lianne and Neal; four grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.

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Last Revision November 11, 2017