Farewell to Red Allen

Carrol “Red” Allen

The news comes that Carrol “Red” Allen passed away on May 3, 2022. Allen, a Democrat, served a total of twelve years in the State Senate, first representing his hometown of Lake Andes from 1979-85, and then serving the Yankton area from 1987-95.

Allen was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1994, running on a platform of instituting a state income tax to reduce property taxes. An income tax is not politically viable in South Dakota today, but from the 1950s to the 1980s, the idea was popular among ag-based Democrats. Allen’s candidacy could be considered one of the last serious attempts for a state income tax.

Allen finished second in a three-way race, with DWU President Jim Beddow winning 55% to 23% for Allen and 21% for Public Utilities Commissioner Jim Burg. Beddow lost the fall campaign to former Governor Bill Janklow.

Red Allen’s family posted his obituary on Facebook, and I have copied it below:

LAKE ANDES — Carrol “Red” Allen, 87, died on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Visitation will be Friday, May 6, 2022 from 5-7 p.m. at Schmitt Funeral Home in Quinter, Kansas. Funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 7, 2022 at Gove Community Bible Church in Gove, Kansas. A gravesite burial will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Lakeview Cemetery in Lake Andes, South Dakota. A reception will follow from 12-2 p.m. at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Lake Andes, SD for friends and family to gather and celebrate Red’s life. 

Red was born on July 4th, 1934 in Royal, Nebraska to Gertrude Scheer and Verle Allen. His paternal grandparents were Charles and Anna Allen, and Phillip and Josephine Scheer on his maternal side. Red was a devoted brother to his three beautiful sisters,  DeEtta, Judene, and Viktorya. He attended grade school in Royal and Hastings, Nebraska and then went on to graduate from Lake Andes High School in 1951.

From the first time he swung his mother’s broom handle at a corn cob, Red Allen loved the game of baseball and it would become a constant source of joy throughout his life. Playing professionally was his dream, and he quickly worked his way up through the Northern Class League and Basin League before achieving his dream of signing a professional contract with the Baltimore Orioles. Sadly, his time with them would be short lived, as an injury kept him from continuing to play the sport he loved so much.

His passion for athletics never stopped though. Red started coaching baseball in 1959 and would continue until 2012, adding basketball, softball, refereeing, and umpiring to his resume. In 2000 he was inducted into the South Dakota Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Red was always working. As a young man he delivered fresh milk door to door, butchered meats at the IGA, and popped corn at the movie theater. He went on to own a truck stop, spend 25 years custom harvesting, and was very involved in community activism. Red served on the Township Board, the School Board, as County Commissioner and then as a South Dakota State Senator for 12 years. He became the Democratic State Party Chairman in 1985 and ran for Governor of South Dakota in 1994.

Red was blessed with a large and loving family. He met his beloved Gladys Herrold at the bowling alley during the iconic Fish Days of 1952 and said “it was love at first sight.” They were married a year later on September 20, 1953 and spent 59 years together until her death in 2012. Three children were born to this union: Bruce, Betty and Charles.

In 2015 Red met Judy Tuttle, fell in love and moved south to Kansas where he spent the next seven years by her side. Together they built up a beautiful home and lived in it happily. Red loved hunting season but even more he treasured having family around to enjoy the home and hunt the land. He discovered a love for making furniture and took great pride in the pieces he made. Red and Judy enjoyed living out the later years of their life together. 

Red is survived by his wife, Judy Tuttle of Grinnel, KS; sisters Viktorya Allen of Napa, CA, and DeEtta Vondracek of Millbank, SD; children Bruce (Julie) Allen of Omaha, NE; Betty (Glenn) Granflaten of Sioux Falls, SD; and Chuck (Connie) Allen of Chandler, AZ; Step-children Myrna Craig; Craig Tuttle; Troy Tuttle; and Derek Tuttle; Grandchildren; Christopher Allen, Elizabeth Allen, Stephanie Allen, Paige Allen, Jacob Allen, Nick Matzke, David Matzke, Sam Matzke, Matthew Matzke, Joseph Matzke, Jennifer Granflaten, Chipper Granflaten, Jeremy Granflaten, Chelsey Allen Carver, Cassidy Allen Hynd, and Charles Allen; 22 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Gladys Allen, sister Judene Grage, and brother-in-law George Herrold.