Allen V. Hirsch died unexpectedly on December 20, 2015 in Lafayette, CA. He was 62. He died with a long lens in hand, happily engaged in photographing birds for the annual Christmas Bird Count for the Golden Gate Audubon Society, of which he became a recent board member. goldengateaudubon.org
Allen was born in 1953 in Red Bud, Illinois, and was raised on the family farm near Burksville, Illinois. He graduated Scholar Athlete and Valedictorian of his 1971 Waterloo High School class, and attended the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana, earning his B.A. in Civil Engineering. He went on to receive a Master’s degree in Transportation Engineering from Univ. of Maryland, and then his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1980. Allen spent a year in a faculty role in agribusiness at Harvard before moving to San Francisco for a job with PLM Transportation Equipment Leasing Co., where he later became President. He remained in financial services throughout the remainder of his career. At the time of his death he was Vice President, Beacon Capital Management. Allen generously shared his strategic planning gifts through his non-profit work with Harvard Community Partners.
Allen had a life-long passion for baseball, beginning in his youth when he would listen to the Cardinals’ games on a small transistor radio and create his own scorecards. An expert in the refined art of sabermetrics, he later became a devoted fan and season ticket-holder of the SF Giants, and was proud to be present for all three of the Giants’ World Series victories.
A church trip to Malawi in 2007 opened Allen’s eyes to the beauties of Carmine Bee-Eaters and other rare birds, and led to his extraordinary love of photography. He was an enthusiastic member and judge for the Alameda Photographic Society. In recent years he spent increasing time in nature, whether in Death Valley, Mono Lake, or in the camouflage tent he built in his Piedmont backyard so he could photograph birds undisturbed. An online gallery of some of Allen’s work may be seen at: allenh.zenfolio.com
Allen and family were twenty-five year residents of Piedmont, moving recently to Oakland, CA. Allen was deeply involved in his community and Piedmont Community Church, where he was a committed participant of the Men’s Bible Study. Notably, he was a twenty-four year member of the church’s choir where he was loved for his dry humor, solid gifts as a tenor, and his ability to keep fellow choir-members updated on game scores in real-time.
Allen was the devoted husband of Sara, whom he met in 1982, and was the proud father of his two sons Sam, 28, and Pete, 26. He is survived by his mother, Pearl Voelker Hirsch, and siblings Dean Hirsch, Kevin Hirsch, Karen Hirsch Roider, Kathy Hirsch Horn, Karla Hirsch Bulman, as well as their children and grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father Adolph G. Hirsch.
A celebration of life service for Allen’s life will be held at Piedmont Community Church. In lieu of flowers, donations in Allen’s memory may be made to the Golden Gate Audubon Society, or to the music program at Piedmont Community Church - Choir Fund.
A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, January 16th at 11:00am at St Paul United Church of Christ in Waterloo.