Naperville man's life as 'beacon of light' recognized
A Naperville man called a "beacon of light" has earned posthumous recognition for the brightness he brought to years of community work and political activism.
The Naperville City Council presented a proclamation in honor of Ronald Allen, who was shot to death Dec. 2 in Chicago, to his family Tuesday as a way to remember his contributions to business, the African-American community, police/minority relations and even the traditional card game of Bid Whist.
Allen, 73, was a Democratic precinct committeeman and Naperville Township trustee candidate, a father, grandfather, author and volunteer on a long list of boards and committees including the DuPage County Crime Stoppers board of directors, the Chicago State University alumni board, and the National African American Insurance Association board of directors.
"He was definitely a community contributor," said Dianne McGuire, a fellow Democratic precinct committeewoman, who said Allen also was recognized with a proclamation in the Illinois Senate.
Allen, a graduate of Chicago State University, founded A. Allen Insurance Ltd. in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and became one of the first black people promoted to Allstate agent.
He hosted "The Financial Forum" radio show, broadcast on WVON 1690-AM in Chicago and was recognized in 2009 with the "50 Men of Excellence Award" from the Chicago Defender newspaper.
In 2014, Allen wrote "The Evolution of Bid Whist: 150 Years in the Growth of an African American Tradition," a book about the card game and its cultural significance.
Naperville council member Becky Anderson read a list of these and other accomplishments as she presented the proclamation to Allen's wife, Carol Allen; mother, Tessie Johnson; and daughter, Vera Allen. The proclamation joined a similar sentiment put forward by the DuPage County Board in January.
Allen's friend Regnia Brent of Aurora added to the recognition with a brief speech of her own, calling Allen a "beacon of light" and recognizing him for helping her start a police/minority relations improvement group last year called Unity Partnership.
"Out of all the accolades, family support and a loving wife, Ron Allen did not feel relieved of his duties, responsibilities or obligations to society," Brent said. "It was important to him to give thanks to those who had come before him."
Chicago police said the investigation into Allen's death, which took place while he was driving after playing cards with friends in Chicago, remains ongoing. No one is in custody for the shooting.