BERYL GENE ALLISON 1931-2021
Beryl Gene Allison, 90, of Exeter, California, passed away peacefully May 6, 2021. He lived a long and fulfilled life.
He was born April 23,1931 in Levelland, Texas. At the age of six, Beryl moved with his family to California. The family survived the depression years. Like many families forced to leave Dust Bowl states, hardships and starvation were constant threats.
Beryl graduated from Carrizo Springs High School, Texas, in 1949. After graduating high school he returned back to California to join his family in Turlock.
When Beryl was young, relatives gathered to play music. Beryl became a self-taught musician who played many instruments “by ear.” Piano and guitar were his favorite instruments.
His musical abilities showed much promise. At the age of 15 he was the youngest member of the California Rhythm Boys. They were regulars on KTRB Modesto, and KVOS Merced.
Whenever an instrument was available Beryl would play to toe-tapping crowds around him. Throughout his life, he loved playing piano and vocal duets with his daughter Jeanette.
In 1950, he enlisted in the United States Air Force. During the Korean War he served as an Aircraft Mechanic, working on B-36s. His most
talked-about assignment was his station at Thule Air Force Base, Greenland. When his service ended in 1954 he returned again to his family in California.
He married Ann Marie Weckwerth in Tulare County on April 11, 1958. The couple made their home in Exeter, California. They had two children: Michael Allison and Jeanette Allison. After 34 years of marriage, Ann passed in 1992.
Beryl held a Master’s Degree in Industrial Arts. He devoted his teaching career to the Exeter Unified School District, teaching Industrial Arts. His first assignment was at Wilson Junior High School teaching wood shop. The majority of his teaching career was at Exeter Union High School. He taught wood shop, auto mechanics, and math. In 1993, he received the Exeter Union High School Erickson Teacher of the Year award. He retired from Exeter Union School District in 1993 after 34 years of service.
After retirement Beryl became an orange grower. In 1995, his daughter Jeanette helped plant young orange trees on his ranch north of Exeter. Beryl sought farming advice most often from his long-time friend Wayne Weller of Exeter CA. Beryl also spoke gratefully of neighbors Matt and Colleen Hutcheson, and their son Patrick, of the farming community.
After recuperating from a serious fall in 2013, Beryl sold his orange ranch to Matt and Colleen Hutcheson. The Hutchesons arranged for Beryl to continue living in the ranch’s home. By August 2020, Beryl moved to Monterey CA to live with his daughter Jeanette, her wife Jackie, and his granddaughter Allison Radtke.
Beryl also was a gifted artist. He had early aspirations and the skills to be a sketch artist for Disney Productions. However, he always came back to his first love: Teaching. He produced professional art all the same. Many of his drawings are with Jeanette now. Artistic skills are a trait he passed on to his granddaughter Allison.
Beryl was a favorite teacher of hundreds of students, many he followed for the rest of his life. One former student is Ron Overacker Sr. Beryl often spoke fondly of Ron, stating: “He is one of my best success stories.” The two remained friends.
Former students remember Beryl as approachable, caring, and funny. They remember how “Mr. Allison used sketching, stories, jokes, and Spanish to liven up the classroom.” Beryl’s mentorship changed many lives forever. He is, they say, a legacy.
Having experienced severe difficulties in his life, Beryl was quick to help others in hardships. He contributed to many charities and offered personal help to people he befriended. His life was spent in service.
Beryl is survived by his daughter Dr. Jeanette Allison (her wife Jackie, and granddaughter Allison Radtke), and son Michael Allison (his wife Kim, and grandson Ryan Allison). He is also survived by numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was a kind and loving husband, father and grandfather to Ryan Allison and Allison Radtke. Beryl also leaves behind many friends, including those who have passed on before him. His sense of humor always brought a smile to his family and those around him.
No formal services will be held at Beryl’s request, and to respect COVID precautions.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, please make donations to Beryl’s favorite charities: The Wounded Warrior Project, and the SPCA of Monterey County.
Finally, Beryl’s daughter Jeanette Allison expresses her deep thankfulness to the Exeter community who loved and watched over him. Beryl had a great life there. During his final days Beryl reflected with gratitude. He told Jeanette: “Life doesn’t get any better than that!”