(1923 - 2021)
Fred Allen's school grades were less than stellar, but he wasn't concerned because he was going to be a professional baseball player. He didn't have a curveball but relied on his fastball and off-speed pitches during his 1941 stint as a pitcher with the Fond du Lac Panthers. In 1942 on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Fred enlisted in the Air Force and flew B-29 bombers. Fred took the discipline he learned in the Air Force and, after just two years of college, convinced the dean of Northwestern Law School that he was ready to study law.
Fred had an engaging personality and was "smart as hell." He wasn't a table pounder or much for histrionics. He projected sincerity. Juries loved him and attorneys trusted him.
Fred was admitted to the Inner Circle after his December 11, 1974, $1 million verdict on behalf of Mrs. Jean Roth, a 27-year-old surgical nurse who was left paralyzed from the chest down after being rear ended by a truck. Fred sued Ford Motor Company arguing that the seat of her Mercury Comet was defective and collapsed during a crash, throwing her into the back seat on impact which resulted in her horrific injuries. It was the first million-dollar verdict in downstate Illinois and, at that time, was the largest verdict in a Peoria County court.
Fred built his own law firm as a self-made businessman by working hard and treating people the right way. He regularly made time for pro bono legal work and was known to be humble and generous. But Fred was also exact in his actions and earned the admiration of other attorneys for his work ethic. He had a reputation for taking cases to trial by jury instead of settling for less, always seeking the best result for his clients. He personally funded each case and hired experts, often "betting the farm" on a favorable verdict.
Despite being born in a town that was also the birthplace of the Republican party, Fred stayed true to the Democratic party for his entire life.