July 18, 2007
We hate to report that one of the greatest Search and Rescue persons in New Mexico, and a close friend for many years, Dr. Jerry Allen, of St. John's College SAR, died yesterday afternoon, of cancer, surrounded by friends and family, as well as his loving wife, Valeria.
Jerry was a Search and Rescue superstar who could out-hike most of the rest of his team, most of whom were all much younger. We remember slogging up the very steep Windsor Trail at the Santa Fe Ski Basin on weekend hikes and watching Jerry come out of the middle of nowhere jogging past us like we were standing still (which we might have been while we desperately tried to catch our breath). John recalls that during one of their most dramatic and satisfying missions was searching for a small boy who had been missing for days on the Zuni Pueblo. When the announcement came through over the radio that the boy had been found alive, Jerry was only half a mile away. He immediately ran to the location in order to check him over and pronounce him scared but healthy. That moment brought tears to the eyes of some of the hardest core of the searchers.
We also remember that Jerry came to the hospital in Albuquerque to visit not long after we had returned from New York. He told us a story that day about a time early in his career while he was working in the Four Corners area of New Mexico about a case of plague in a young boy who consequently died. Jerry seemed to tear up while he told us that story; we knew that he had never quite gotten over that experience.
Many people in the state of New Mexico will miss Jerry, but we know that he will stay with us in the mountains. The day the little boy was found on the Zuni Pueblo he told his rescuers that there were spirits out there who talked to him while he was lost, cold, and afraid. That will be Jerry.
Love to you all-
John and Lucinda