Allen Hallberg Myers, 88, devoted husband and father, passed away on July 20, 2020 in Moline, IL.
Allen was born on November 3, 1931 near Centralia, IL to Alson and Myrtle (Hallberg) Myers. He was born and raised on Myers Orchards, the family farm founded by his parents. He attended Centralia High School, followed by Southern Illinois University. There he met his lifelong love Lena Pantaleo, whom he met as lab partner in physics class. They recently celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary.
After graduating from SIU in 1952 with a degree in Geology and Geography, Allen enlisted in the Navy for service during the Korean War. He started in Electronics training on Treasure Island in San Francisco, where he often said he spent the coldest winter of his life. From there he attended Officer Candidate School in Providence, RI, commissioning as Lieutenant Junior Grade. He and Lena were married in Du Quoin, IL on July 13, 1953, and moved to Monterey, CA for his post-graduate studies in weather and climatology. Next they relocated to San Diego, CA, from which Allen shipped out to Japan three times, always on the USS Winston AKA 94. Allen served as head Electronics Officer, assisted in Communications and Navigation, and was the Cryptography Coding Officer for his squadron of six ships.
Allen said that Navy officer training changed him forever, teaching him how to be a leader and a gentleman, and about cooperation. He said when you are on the boat, it doesn’t matter the bars on your uniform, you all have to work together to get home. He also said to remember that the person that you chew out today might be sitting on the water cask in the lifeboat tomorrow.
Upon leaving the Navy in 1956, Allen returned to join his father in running Myers Orchards, a 200-acre farm planted to 130 acres of apples and peaches. He managed through the transition from a pure wholesale business to a pure retail business, building a cider operation and providing experiences and tours for children. Lena became an integral part of the business as they expanded into growing berries and added more apple-based products, homemade jams and butters, and unforgettable freshly made cider donuts.
Allen kept close ties with University of Illinois farm advisors and introduced new technologies on the farm. Like his father before him, Allen was known for quality produce and took pride in the fruit he sold. He once dumped a 300-gallon batch of freshly pressed apple cider, because to him it didn’t taste right. He instilled a love of the land in all his children, and an appreciation for integrity and hard work. Numerous future business and civic leaders had their first work experience at the farm, and they recall the orchards and Allen very favorably.
After selling the farm in 1990, Allen went into business development at Kaskaskia College, then became a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker. He made many good friendships there and earned numerous awards for properties sold, including the Illinois Association of Realtors President’s Gold Award for three straight years, with Life Membership in the President’s Club.
Allen served as President of the Illinois Horticultural Society, Board President of the Centralia First Christian Church, and was a member of the Rotary and Shriners Clubs.
He is survived by his wife Lena Myers of Moline, IL; children Chris Myers (Janet M. Myers spouse) of Port Byron, IL, Brian Myers of Seattle, WA, and Janet K. Myers of Napa, CA; grandchildren (spouses): Laura Sivertsen (Matt Sivertsen) of Moline, IL, Andrea Myers (Drew Cunningham) of Danbury, CT, and Leah Zimmermann (Adam Zimmermann) of Iowa City, IA; great-grandchildren Christopher Sivertsen and Abraham Zimmermann; sisters Mary Renfro (Lloyd Shaw) of Glen Carbon, IL, Jean Hutter of Munster, IN, and Rose Davidson of Decatur, IL; and beloved nieces and nephews that he enjoyed teaching and sharing about the farm.
On-line memories and condolences may be shared with the Myers family on the tribute wall.
A Celebration of Life service will be planned for the future in Centralia, Illinois. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation, www.parkinson.org, or the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Centralia, IL.
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