30 Apr 2013 A Common Thread
An East Texas Boy Makes a Big City Difference
With a colorful professional and personal story, as well as an unparalleled devotion to service, Fred Allen has become an iconic mentor and friend to some of the most powerful men and women in Texas and the nation.
He is a passionate leader highly influenced by his Texas roots, and his hometown southern values have influenced powerful institutions in Dallas and beyond.
“Fred has a deep understanding of issues and you can talk to him about various issues and he can zero in on what the issue really is and then give some sage, sound advice on what considerations you might want to take,” said Robert “Bob” Walker, President and CEO of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) and Allen’s friend and co-worker for 27 years.
When it comes to connections and networking, few people are as well-established as Fred Allen. A Mount Pleasant native, he is the product of humble beginnings. The son of an oil field worker in the Depression-era, he never dreamed he would one day rub elbows with Presidents of the United States, count celebrities among his closest friends, or give multitudes back to the community.
“I guess I’ve just been plain lucky through my life. I can’t imagine an east Texas boy like me doing as much or going as many places as I’ve been,” Allen said.
But it takes much more than luck to establish relationships and rise to the distinctions Allen has achieved. A combination of charisma, business savvy, and an analytical mind has allowed him to make great strides both professionally and personally.
“As it turns out, I was a pretty good salesman,” Allen said of his first profession.
A good salesman indeed. After his return from service in the Korean War, he took a job with the Royal Typewriter Company in Dallas and rose through their ranks from salesman to western regional sales manager and eventually national sales manager based in New York City. This phenomenal success set Allen up for his first retirement at age 40 and a return to his Texas roots. Even though he opted for what many would consider an early departure from the workforce, this east Texas boy was not suited to a life of leisure. He continued to work in cattle ranching and created a wildly successful direct mail business based in Mount Pleasant. With even more professional victories under his belt, he turned toward a life of service. Some of his most remarkable contributions include his time as a Mason—including one of the organization’s highest ranks, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas—and a 27-year stretch as a Vice President and board member at Scottish Rite. It is Scottish Rite that has afforded Allen some of his most valuable mentoring opportunities, and Allen’s humble southern values and charm have deeply impacted this multimillion dollar hospital devoted to serving the Dallas community and the world.
“We have a very friendly relationship. Bob sometimes calls me for advice. I’m the third oldest member on the Scottish Rite Hospital board, so I’ve got a lot of experience to offer,” Allen said. “It’s probably the greatest institution I’ve ever been connected with.”
Walker is quick to praise Allen’s service to Scottish Rite—their common passion—and his character as well. It is clear that Fred Allen is not only a grand achiever, but grounded in purpose. He may be an east Texas boy, but he makes a big difference wherever he goes.
“Fred has been a mentor to me, but also to a number of other people here at the hospital. If you think of Fred you think of someone with solid character, integrity, who will tell you what he thinks but will be there to support you any time,” Walker said. “He is a very passionate individual about what he does and what he believes in. You couldn’t have a better friend than Fred Allen.”