Vikings sports was a passion for Allen Mead
Allen Fox Mead loved Geneva.
He loved growing up here, graduating in 1933 from Geneva High School. He loved the woman he met here, Margaret, whom he married. He loved the family business, coming back to Geneva after military service in World War II to be a reporter at the Geneva Republican.
And he loved Geneva High School sports, although he was not an athlete. "I really don't know why this evolved," said his daughter, Elizabeth Safanda, of her father's passion for covering nearly every Vikings sporting event for 40 years. That passion was why he was inducted to the school's athletics Hall of Fame in 2002.
Mead, 95, died Sunday.
Mead was born at the old Colonial Hospital on Third Street in Geneva. He obtained a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. During World War II he was a staff sergeant at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin.
He then came back home to Geneva, working for his uncle, the publisher of the Geneva Republican newspaper. Mead eventually became editor and publisher. But even with increased responsibilities, he enjoyed continuing to cover the weekly Geneva City Council meetings and Geneva sports.
He was also active in civic organizations. Mead served as chairman of the Tri-City Ambulance Board, was on the board of directors of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, and was president of the Community Hospital Men's Foundation.
He received the Lifetime Lion award from the Geneva Lions Club, of which he had been president. And he was instrumental in changing the club in the 1970s, according to Safanda. " 'We should have a woman member,' " he told members.
Safanda said her father saw what was happening with other service organizations, such as the Rotary Club and Jaycees, that were running into legal trouble over their male-only status. Mead persuaded Frank Burgess to ask Susan Peters, a fundraiser for Community Hospital, to join.
"He had a very open mind," Safanda said.
Mead was a member of the Geneva Golf Club, the American Legion, the American Friends Service Committee and St. Mark Episcopal Church. He received the Wood Community Service Award, a lifetime achievement honor, in 1998.
Allen is survived by two daughters; two sons; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two siblings; and 11 nieces and nephews.
Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Yurs Funeral Home, 1771 W. State St., Geneva. The funeral service is at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Mark's, 320 Franklin St., Geneva.
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