It is with sadness that the members of the law firm of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen announce the death of Wilbur C. Allen on January 18, 2011. Wilbur Allen was a founding member of the law firm, along with his father, George E. Allen, Sr.; and his two brothers, George E. Allen, Jr. and Ashby B. Allen.
Mr. Allen served as a Lieutenant JG in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War, from 1944 to 1947. He graduated with a B.S. from the University of Virginia and received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1950.
Mr. Allen practiced law for 50 years and built a reputation as a fierce advocate for the thousands of injured people he represented. He leaves an outstanding legacy as a trial lawyer and leader. He served as president of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen for 33 years, from 1957 to 1990. Four of Mr. Allen’s children have joined him at the firm, and currently serve as attorneys and partners: W. Coleman Allen, Jr., R. Clayton Allen, Edward L. Allen and Courtney A. Van Winkle.
During his career, Mr. Allen was chosen a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an honor awarded to experienced trial lawyers who have demonstrated exceptional skill as advocates. Mr. Allen also became a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation, established to recognize and encourage excellence in the practice of law and public service. He was president of the Richmond Bar Association in 1979. As chair of the Virginia Bar Special Committee on Professionalism from 1991 to 1994, he directed the drafting of one of the earliest aspirational “Creeds of Professionalism” for lawyers in the country. He was recognized by his peers for inclusion in the book The Best Lawyers in America from its first edition in 1983 until his retirement. An active supporter of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, he played a key role in creating the VTLA PAC and served as its first chairman.
The Richmond community was equally important to Mr. Allen. He was a charter member and president of the West End Richmond Rotary Club, president of American Legion Post 84 and was appointed by the governor to the Board of Visitors of Virginia Commonwealth University and served from 1984 to 1987. Active in All Saints Church in Richmond for more than 50 years, he was the superintendent of Sunday Schools for 20 years, a vestry member and senior warden.
Wilbur Allen is survived by his wife of 60 years, Frances Gayle Allen; five children and their spouses: Gayle and David Fitzgerald, Coleman and Anne Allen, Clayton and Lisa Allen, Edward and Nancy Allen, and Courtney and Peter Van Winkle; and fifteen grandchildren: Matthew, Scott, and Amy Fitzgerald; Sean, Kara, Channing, Turner, Carter, Parker, and Mason Allen; Wilson, Christopher, Payton, and Matthew Van Winkle; and Michael Lamons. He is also survived by two sisters, Lucy Burke Meyers and Patricia Winters, and his brother Ashby B. Allen.
Mr. Allen had a positive attitude and a generous spirit. He set the standard of caring that resonates today in the culture of the law firm that bears his name. His distinguished career demonstrates that collegiality and courtesy are compatible with aggressive and effective advocacy. His passing is a loss to the many whose life he touched.