Ross Roundy Allen was born to Rebecca May Roundy and William Berry Allen in East Millcreek, Utah, on January 21, 1928, the lucky Year of the Dragon. And like the proverbial dragon, he attacked life with zest and vigor.
He grew up the youngest child in a happy family, attending Granite High School, where two of his life-changing events occurred: He met his future wife, Maurine Neilson, and he was drafted into military service during World War II.
He entered the Air Force upon graduation, serving in the post-war Occupation Forces in Japan, and courting Maurine by correspondence. His appetite for adventure and his desire to explore the world and its cultures was only whetted by his time in Japan, where he first learned to love the Japanese people.
After returning, marrying his “ideal” Maurine in the Salt Lake Temple, and graduating from the University of Utah, he and his young family, now with the addition of four young children, sailed on the ocean liner Lurline for Hawaii, where Ross began his career in higher education at the Church College of Hawaii (now BYU Hawaii). It was love at first sight for Papasan and Hawaii and the Polynesian people. He loved every minute of teaching students from all countries and cultures and training them to in turn learn to love, serve and teach others. His love for people of all colors, creeds and cultures has been a hallmark of his life. It is also somewhat amazing that he loved teaching (and teaching math!) so much because another hallmark of his life has been his view of rules: Rules are made to be broken, and if you obey all the rules you miss all the fun. He viewed any sign that read “Road Closed” as a challenge to disprove, often to the chagrin of his wife, and he viewed every wrong turn as a planned destination.
He loved his family (consisting of much more than just blood relations), and he loved to laugh, make others laugh, tease his loved ones, walk beaches, discover the fun in every experience, eat good food the world over, observe human behavior and relish whatever life brought his way.
His zest for adventure, travel, and discovering the world was indulged throughout his life. He traveled throughout the South Pacific while researching for his doctorate. And a few years after achieving that, he packed up his family once again, this time with 6 young children, and flew to England to teach for a year. While there, he and Maurine traveled through Europe. After 9 glorious years in Hawaii, the family moved to Logan, where Ross became a professor at USU, and which has been homebase ever since. His taste for travel was unabated, however, and his first sabbatical from USU was a Fulbright Fellowship in Laos, at the time of the Vietnam War, this time with 3 of the six children in tow. The fellowship ended abruptly when the Communists took over that country, and the family made their narrow escape. However, they still managed to complete a trip around the world on that journey, traveling one direction to get to Laos and the other direction to return home. Subsequent to that, Ross took leaves from USU to return to Japan to teach and later both he and Maurine taught at a university in China. Throughout this time, Ross and Maurine took numerous tours back to their beloved Hawaii. They loved serving a mission together at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii.
Sadly but fittingly, his long travels came to an end three years ago with the last visit to his beloved Hawaii at the age of 90.The biggest lesson that Papasan has taught us by the sermon of his life is the preeminence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It guided him throughout his life. He loved serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in many callings, but he especially loved teaching Sunday School to teenagers and serving as Bishop. He loved the people he served, and he loved serving them. He taught us that it is only the light of Jesus Christ that illuminates and gives meaning to all that we experience in this life and hereafter. We know that he is embracing this next adventure with the same enthusiasm he exhibited on this side of the veil.
Family surviving and striving to emulate his exemplary life include his beloved wife Maurine, children Raquel DeJean, Connie (Chad) Skidmore, Kim (Jim) Robinson, Ross (Tana) Allen, Trent (Michelle) Allen, Heather (Scott) Knowles, 43 grandchildren and 44 great grandchildren.
The family gives heartfelt thanks to the healthcare workers who assisted Papasan in the past several weeks, especially Robert, Mike, Micah and Pauline.
We invite all who wish to attend to a celebration of his life well lived with services at noon on Saturday, May 22, 2021, at Hillcrest 1st Ward Chapel, 875 North 15th East in Logan.
The service will streamed live over the following Zoom link:RossAllenCelebOfLife.
Meeting ID: 892 0861 3536Passcode: 102767