Passing of member Jim Allen

Posted on November 7th, 2017

November 2, 2017

Hall of Fame’s Jim Allen passes away unexpectedly at home

World Drum Corps Hall of Fame member Jim Allen, 68, unexpectedly passed away at his home in East Amherst, New York on October 31.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011 and most recently served as chair of the visual screening committee as part of the new inductee selection process.

He had retired from the Amherst Industrial Development Agency (ID) in early 2016 after serving as executive director for 36 years.  He had suffered from congestive heart failure in the past few years.  He is survived by his wife Linda, daughters Jamie Allen-Powers and Lindsay, son Michael, sisters Karen McCoy and Nancy Fiorino and two brothers with many years of involvement in the drum corps community Tom and Donny, also a member of World Drum Corps Hall of Fame, inducted in 1995.

Visitation will take place Sunday, November 5 from 1-5 pm at the Amherst Chapel of Amigone Funeral Home, Inc., 5200 Sheridan Drive.  A funeral service will take place at 5 pm, followed by private interment.

Jim Allen excelled as an instructor and performer with a number of junior and all-age drum and bugle corps that consistently finished at the top in state and national championship contests.  He was visual designer for Syracuse Brigadiers from 1997 to 2007.  In that period, the Brigs won the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) title five times: in 1997 and four years in a row from 1999 to 2002.  He was also responsible for visual design with both of Rochester’s national-caliber corps: Empire Statesmen in 2008 and 2009 and the Crusaders in 1971 and 1973 and again from 1980 to 1983.

In the 1970s, he was visual designer at various times for Empire State Express of Elmira, Rochester Patriots and St. Joseph’s of Batavia when they won the Canadian Open Championship title.  He was also the brass instructor with St. Joe’s and Bayonne Bridgemen during that decade.

His lifelong involvement with drum and bugle corps activity began in 1956, when he played soprano bugle with the Dutchtown Ramblers.  He played soprano with Rochester’s Ridge Culver Statesmen for three years then was a soprano soloist with St. Joe’s from 1963 to 1970.  During that time, St. Joe’s won eight New York State American Legion titles and made the finals in the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) national championships four times.

He served as assistant director and director with St. Joe’s and assistant director of American Patrol of Batavia.  He judged marching for the New York Chapter of the All-American Judging Association from 1971 to 1974 and with the New York Federation of Contest Judges since 1974.

He was the chair of the local organizing committee when the Drum Corps International (DCI) championships were held in Buffalo, New York in 1990 and 1995.

When he retired, he was one of the longest-tenured IDA directors in New York State.  As executive director of the Amherst IDA he strongly supported the concept of encouraging local business growth by offering tax benefits to projects that met qualification standards.    During his years of service, tax breaks to 370 local companies helped Amherst increase its tax base by about $570 million while creating more than 25,000 jobs paying considerably more salary than typical jobs in the region.

He graduated from St. John Fisher College in the Rochester area with a bachelor’s degree in political science, returning to school later to earn a master’s degree in urban planning from University of Buffalo.  Graduating in 1999, he immediately began teaching graduate students in UB’s department of urban and regional planning.  He also taught at Canisius College.


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