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Virtual Memorial for
Willis Allen

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Chris Collins, Jr. and Willis Allen (right).

RAWHIDE THAT WAS WILLIS ALLEN - The first time I saw him was about 1980 and he was sitting on a horse in Indio. I thought he was an old cowboy from West Texas or the foothills of Colorado. Willis looked just like many of those hard and as tough as rawhide. He had a glint in his eye that said "try me young feller. Make my day." Little did I know he was rich, famous and the most important man in Southern California Polo. Willis was the tick behind the clock in making Eldorado the biggest club in the U.S. and he was the Godfather of San Diego Polo Club. He made it happen and I think that's the way he was. Willis made it happen. He knew horses, people and power. Willis never used these things for anything else, only to improve someone or something he liked. I do not know if he ever used it for anything he did not like because it would be gone and you would never know it. My son, Jason, won the Willis Allen award a few years ago and he thought that was the coolest thing because he really liked to ask him questions so he could hear Willis talk. He did talk just enough to make you really enjoy that sparkle in his eye and he leaves polo for the big one in the sky. Guess what Artie and Big Gee & Eric Friden? You now have a boss up there. Our thoughts are with his family. - The Crowders

Willis Allen (right) and Harry Collins watch polo from the sidelines.

We will miss your smile.
We will miss your stories.
We will miss your polo passion.
We will miss you watching your ponies play.
Jocelyn Parker
On July 25th the Lakeside Polo Club held a Ceremony of Willis Allen's Life. The intent was to offer a "make-up" ceremony for those who could not attend the June 24th celebration in La Jolla. The Lakeside event was planned using a seat-of-the-pants method, typical of Lakeside, and turned out to be an unforgettable afternoon, also typical of Lakeside.

I had the privilege of announcing for the eight chukkas that were refereed by Kip Hering and Russ Sheldon. No doubt Willis enjoyed that game from where ever he is, mostly because of the youth participants: Savannah (10yrs) and Frankie Jr. (~15yrs) were the stars.

While none of use will ever compare to the human-archive that Willis was, it was quite interesting to see how influential Willis was no matter how long you knew him. Kip Hering gave the 50 year version, Steve Coblentz gave one for 30 years, Russ Sheldon gave his for 20 years, Cary Burch and Tina Robinson gave theirs for 10 years, Art Campbell gave one for 3 years and Spike gave one for 3 months. Anna even gave one for the non-players. This event truly shortened the distances and times that burden even the fondest memories.

Thank you Willis Mertz Allen for continuing to bond us
even after you finally rest in peace.

Steve Coblentz

Willis Allen, 93 years old, pasted away today (June, 13th, '04) at his home in La Jolla, CA. Willis was a Founding Member of San Diego and Eldorado Polo Clubs and a long time member of Lakeside Polo Club. He played his last polo game two weeks ago at Lakeside Polo Club, having 4 generations of his family on the polo field playing together. Willis leaves a memory of many years of polo going back to pre 1940. He will be missed by his many friends Worldwide. When more information is available we will post it here. - Russ Sheldon

Arrangements are incomplete at this time and will be furnished when available

I spoke with Harry after their game yesterday. Such a great day they had. Willis would have smiled. Here's a little something I sent out to the Board today. Thought you would enjoy it. -Chris Maloney

Wanted: Founding Member

Compensation: No pay up to having fun

The San Diego Polo Club is seeking a new Founding Member to fill the void left by our recently departed Chairman Emeritus, Willis Allen. New member must come to Sunday games long after he has stopped playing at the club, have the longevity to play until he's 93, be prepared to purchase 4 Founding Memberships to help build the club, help build young polo players by underwriting presenting the annual Willis Allen Young Player Award. Must love the sport more than winning and who would have loved to see his family playing on Field 1 (all three generations) as he slips away - mallet in hand - on his steed to a far better place.

Requirements: The new member must have played polo most of his life; produce three more generations (and counting) of polo players; be a gentleman on and off the field; must have played on the beach in Coronado; and must be a great horseman, player, and family man. Polo players with less than 50 years experience need not apply.

I heard the sad news that Willis Allen, 93 years old, passed away on Sunday. Willis was a WONDERFUL man and an inspiration to us all. It was only 3 weeks ago that I had the honor to play club chukkas with Willis, Harry and Chris at Lakeside Polo Club. Yes, I said 3 weeks ago. Willis played a mean polo match, even at the age of 93. He was class act and it is my hopes that when I reach 93, I'm still bumping, riding and hitting a mean near side back shot just like Willis! God Bless the Allen/Collins families during this time. And to Willis - thank you for your inspiration, friendship, contributions to polo, for a wonderful family and to the memories that will last forever! I look forward to seeing you again at the Heavenly Polo Club. - Cary Burch
Willis was a real life Will Rogers kinda guy. He had countless great one liners and was never boring.  It was his great generation that lured this gentleman into polo.  Time with Willis was always memorable.
He was more than an Eldorado Polo founder he actually discovered the acreage by searching in his private plane.  Later the games on several fields would pause while he landed his plane and until Willis could taxi'd clear of the action. Clearly, they broke the mold when they made Willis.  He and the Gipper both made "93"  Huurrraah!!! - Patrick Brent, Hawaii Polo Club
Virtual Memorial for
Willis Allen

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If you would like to post a personal message in memory of Willis Allen on this Virtual Memorial please e-mail your submission to feedback@polobarn.com.

Leather CPR is the
Official Leather Care Sponsor
of West Coast Polo

Virtual Memorials

Artie Cameron, Sr.
Big Gee
Bill Leslie
Curly Ramos
Eric Friden
James Rice

Joe Barry
Sue Sally Hale
Thomas Holland
Willis Allen

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