Listen to this post
MEEKER I The definition of modesty is “reserve or propriety in speech, dress or conduct, or; the freedom from conceit or vanity.” Modesty, reticence and humility are common characteristics among World War II veterans. The sacrifice of those veterans was anything but modest and yet they speak of it as a duty and demand nothing from the benefactors of their bravery. Dave Allen fits that description to perfection.
Dave moved to Meeker in 1927. He was the youngest of three children. Tom, Edna May, and Dave lived in Rock Springs, Wyo., until their father left for Oregon to seek work in the timber industry. He was killed in a car accident, leaving his wife to care for the three young children.
Dave’s uncle had a cattle ranch in Wyoming and would come to the Keystone Ranch near Meeker to buy bulls. He got word they were looking for a cook and told his sister the news. She brought her children to the Keystone Ranch where they lived for 10 years. Dave’s brother and sister went to Maybell for a time to live with their grandparents and attend school. Dave remained with his mother and attended school in the Price Creek schoolhouse.
When he first arrived, his teacher was Dean Parr’s mom. He recalled riding his horse three miles to and from school. If the weather was too bad, he had permission to stop at a friend’s house near the school. Once a week he was in charge of picking up the mail for the Keystone Ranch from the post office southeast of the school. The distance seemed perfect for a horse race and Dave and his friend John decided to see who had the faster horse. During the race, John’s horse went in a wash. The event killed the horse but left the children uninjured. It cured them of wanting to race their horses.
Dave remembers his family never went to town. They grew their vegetables, baked their bread and butchered their meat. Life was good on the Keystone. His mother worked extremely hard, sometimes feeding eight to 10 men during haying season. The ranch was sold in 1937 and they moved to the Delaney place near White River City.
While attending the White River City school, Dave remembers the Hollenbecks, the Fritzlan brothers and the Wilsons attending school with him. In 1939 Ed Delaney died of tick fever and Dave’s mother moved her family to town.
After completing school in Meeker, Dave enlisted in the United States Navy where he served active duty in World War II. He returned from the service and married his wife Bessie in January 1949. During the early years of their marriage, they lived in trailer houses and traveled following his work for the Department of Transportation building roads all over the state. He worked out of the shop in Craig until 1950 when he was transferred to Granby. In Granby he was assigned to Trail Ridge Road and others, like Willow Creek Road. In the spring he opened up the roads, breaking through snowdrifts as high as houses. He and one other helper would start near Granby and two other men would start near Estes Park and they worked until they met in the middle.
In 1960 he was transferred to Meeker he has been in the community since then. He was foreman for Rifle, Rangely and the Meeker area. He retired in 1981 after more than 30 years of commitment. He didn’t slow down much after retiring. He drove a school bus for Meeker for more than 20 years.
“I miss the kids, the kids at the Keystone and at Rimrock,” he said. He shared a story about one young girl arriving home from her first day of school the year Dave retired. The little girl was crying as she told her mom, “He (Dave) wasn’t there.” The little girl was talking about the bus driver she already missed.
Dave also served on the town council for eight years during the oil shale boom. He was a member of the council when the city wells were drilled and he has seen the water tanks remain full even when you could wade easily through the river because it was so low.
Dave and Bessie have three children, nine grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. One great-grandson shares Dave’s middle name.
“A person needs to keep busy to keep out of trouble,” he said. He has always lived by these words. “I’m out of a job now and I don’t like it.”
From his time on the Keystone Ranch, to his selfless service in World War II, to his incredible longevity with the department of transportation as well as the Meeker School District, Dave is an example of integrity, consistency and citizenship.