Photos by Harrison Sutcliffe

My Uncle Dr. Ken Allen

I’m posting a article I ran across written by my late Aunt Pat about my Uncle Ken the biologist and fisherman. One of my favorite parts is when she describes his interaction with some other local fisherman. “Little did they know they were getting advice from an expert.” I hope you enjoy this. She was a fantastic writer.

A Hot Springs County Memory

Dear Editor,

I’m usually not an early riser but in this particular morning while visiting my brother Ken in Malvern, I found him having breakfast at 6am. He was always a early riser, since the time we were children at Bismarck, and he had to get up at 4:30 every morning to milk cows before leaving for school.
Ken asked me to go riding with him, and we drove to the nearby historic Rockport Bridge which spanned the Quachita River.
The wooden bridge had recently been closed to traffic because it was in danger of collapsing. Ken pointed out the bridge was actually leaning upstream- against the rushing waters which were undermining its foundation.
We spent the rest of that beautiful morning exploring the rocky river bank and sharing our mutual interest in and appreciation of the beauty of the state we grew up in, left, then returned to over and over gain because it was home and because we loved it.
That day, we came across some fisherman who weren’t having much luck, and my brother explained the best angling techniques.
They looked at the emaciated man with wide surgical scars across the top of his head- bald from chemotherapy for brain cancer- and little did they know they were getting advice from an expert, a man who had a doctorate in marine biology and who had taught residents of Saudi Arabia how to raise catfish- this in spite of the fact that the country has no fresh water streams.
In eight months, at age 54, the cancer claimed Ken, and the Rockport Bridge was swept away by a flood in less than a year. But both still exist in my collection of precious memories.
– Pat Allen Wilson