Retired CVM Faculty Member
Alan Allert Passes Away
Dr. J. Alan Allert, 64, a long-time educator, researcher and former executive director of the Central Missouri Humane Society (CMHS) peacefully passed away at his home on Jan. 10, 2014. A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, May 23 at his home in Columbia, Mo.
He was born on June 13, 1949, to Maxine and Bill Allert in San Antonio, Texas. Upon graduating from Robert E. Lee High School in San Antonio, he attended Texas A&M University, where he received his bachelor of science in 1971 and doctor of veterinary medicine in 1972. He was certified by the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners in 1972.
Dr. Allert began his professional career in Mason, Texas, as a large-animal veterinarian, where he learned many life lessons while tending to the cattle of his close-knit Hill Country town from 1972 to 1973. After the birth of his two sons, he became a practitioner for a small animal private practice in San Antonio from 1973 to 1975.
Following his interest for teaching and research, he accepted an associate professorship in the Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology Department at Texas A&M University in 1975 and became an assistant professor in 1977. He had a broad understanding of many subjects that allowed him to teach classes in pharmacology, physiology and surgery. He was the faculty sponsor of the Student Veterinary Medical Association; served on the College of Veterinary Medicine curriculum committee and was a faculty adviser for undergraduate and veterinary students. Dr. Allert was a valued and accomplished instructor and teacher. He was awarded numerous citations and awards, including the Texas A&M University Distinguished Teacher Award from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984. His research included cardiovascular physiology, pharmacology, tissue implantation and biomaterials as prosthetic devices, which he developed for veterans of the Vietnam War.
In 1985, he moved to Columbia, Mo., to pursue a doctorate and become an instructor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. He taught veterinary pharmacology while pursuing his degree, expanding his teaching experience to include anatomy and histology. He ended his academic career in 1996 with a legacy of numerous publications, presentations and having helped many students complete their degrees.
After leaving academia, Dr. Allert worked with the U.S. Geological Survey Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC) and as a private contractor. He volunteered for numerous researchers, eventually becoming the CERC’s veterinary biomedical officer. He worked on numerous projects in California, the Great Lakes, Maryland, Missouri, Montana and New Mexico, ending his time at CERC while working with pallid sturgeon in the Missouri River. After leaving formally in 2005, he worked as a private contractor helping U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish biologists study stress hormones in pallid sturgeon used in their captive breeding program. He continued to publish until he finally retired a second time in 2007.
In 2009, he became executive director at Central Missouri Humane Society. It was a position for which he was well-suited and one that allowed him to use the skills he had developed as a veterinarian, teacher and researcher. His accomplishments included the completion of the Zootoo renovations and improved relations with the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and the local community. He was instrumental in the cooperative agreement between the CVM and CMHS that allowed veterinary students to spay and neuter shelter animals. His time at the shelter saw several programs grow, including “Walk A Hound, Lose a Pound” and a cooperative program where armed forces veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder teach dogs from CMHS basic obedience skills such as walking with a leash, sitting and staying to improve the dogs’ chances of adoption. He was most proud of his dedicated staff, as well as the many volunteers who work so hard to care for the abandoned animals of central Missouri. It was with much sadness that he resigned his position due to the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2011.
Dr. Allert was a gifted teacher with a natural rapport that served him well as a mentor, whether a perennial favorite professor or coach for his sons’ early sports teams. His hobbies were diverse, with a bent toward the outdoors as an overarching theme. As a younger man, he pursued hiking, camping, fishing and hunting with both gun and bow, caving and was an early advocate of SCUBA diving. Running, sailing and photography were also favorites, as was playing guitar and slowly turning up the volume knob on the stereo. He was an accomplished wood worker, motorcyclist and canoeist, frequently found working in his shop on projects for his home and work, getting motorcycles ready for a long trip or packing up gear to head south for the exploration of a cave or a float on a spring-fed stream. He had an exceptional eye for fruiting box-wine trees, often pointing them out to fellow floaters as they readied their campsite. Dr. Allert was generous with his time and knowledge, and could be counted on to help with any project, whether it was constructing scientific equipment for CERC or helping a neighbor with home improvement.
He was preceded in death by his parents and numerous good dogs. He is survived by his wife, Ann; sons Adam (Amy) and Daniel; their mother, Candace; brother Andrew (Andy); and numerous other family members and friends.
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