Allyn Joseph Hansen ’81 was born in Milwaukee and moved to Florida before starting high school. He moved back to the Midwest in 2001, working for Brooks Brothers in Chicago. His son is named Nicholas. He died of complications related to Lymphoma.
Those are the basic mile-markers of Allyn’s life, but none of those things measure the outpouring of grief by Fraternity Brothers whose love he nurtured, and in turn nurtured him, for three and a half decades.
Joe Liguori ’81 had written, “Our brother Allyn’s condition has taken a negative turn as you can see from a post by his sister Dana. A few months ago I reached out a handful of guys to help send Allyn and his son Nicolas some Christmas cheer; I was not surprised at the immediate and significant response. Recently Dave Henry ’81 visited Allyn while in Chicago and embodied “friendship on a firmer and more lasting basis”. Allyn is one of the bravest people I have ever met, charging forward into challenging situations in order to be true to himself and those around him. Please send prayers and positive thoughts for peace and comfort and, most importantly, make time to reconnect where possible with friends and loved ones.”
Undergraduates are too young to really understand the ties of friendship that continue to grow stronger. They are young, and college affords too many distractions. Only later do they appreciate the true worth of Pi Kappa Alpha across a lifetime.
When he served as Chapter Advisor to the new Colony in 2000 and later to the re-chartered Chapter, Ed Barnes ’71 wrote a caption for a photograph of a large wedding populated by Delta Lambda alumni.
The caption said: “Who are these guys? Who Are Your Pike Brothers? They’re the guys you invite to your wedding because they were with you the night you met your wife. They’re the guys that helped you pass Calculus. They’re the ones you call when your first child is born. They’re the ones you come back to see on football weekends. You can choose your friends; not your family. But when you’re twenty and you have left home, your friends are your family. You only get one shot at life. Choose your friends wisely. Pi Kappa Alpha.”
Allyn Hansen; Chapter Eternal at 56.
Dave Henry ’81 and Allyn in Chicago in 2014. Allyn and his son Nicholas.
Above Left: Tim Sheridan ‘79, Dave Hiteshew ’82 and Dave Henry ’81 with Allyn’s son Nicholas in Chicago. Above Right: Jim Finch ’81, Gene Strickland ’81, Chris Hansard ’81 toasted Allyn’s memory on Hotel Duval’s Level 8 with Woodford Reserve. Only the best, Brother.
Hansard ’81 toasted Allyn’s memory on Hotel Duval’s Level 8 with Woodford Reserve. Pikes were tapped to be the KD Sorority “Man of the Year” three years in a row. Garland Gould ’81, Gene Strickland ’81, and Allyn Hansen ’81. Note the photo of the three KD Men was taken at a social with the Delta Gammas. Gene Strickland learned late of Allyn’s condition and was in the process of rounding up a caravan to drive to Chicago. “We had a Pike pledge pin and we wanted Allyn to see us give it to his son,” Strickland said. “We wanted Nicholas to know that we take care of our own and that he should be proud of his dad.”
“We just ran out of time.”
We just ran out of time. As we all must, eventually.
Austin Brooks Ekern
Initiation year: 2015
Austin Brooks Ekern ’15 had been recruited to be one of Austin McLeod’s Rush Captains, and in August he was excited about leading Delta Lambda in the annual rush war that keeps Pike on top at FSU.
August 2017 was a time of enjoyment for Austin. He and Matt Pozai travelled to Boston to see the Red Sox play. After that he went to a concert in Orlando. Sometime in the early hours of August 18, Austin was struck by a car, and died.
His younger brother Cannon Ekern is a freshman at TCC this fall. The University maintains a harshly punitive policy toward FSU fraternities pledging TCC boys. However, Pike alumni asked for and received permission to offer Cannon a bid and he accepted. Cannon is now part of the fall pledge class.
Delta Lambda Treasurer Griffin Wilcox ‘15 wrote, “In the past 8 months I have enjoyed the distinct privilege of getting to know Austin Ekern even better than I have these the past few years of college. Seeing him and the ‘pregame squad’ roll into my room 2-to-3 times a week was something that I didn’t appreciate nearly enough. Every single time Austin came into the room he’d ask ‘Griff you inviting all the Tri Delts??’ And the ‘Yes’ answer remained the same every time, but the way he asked it made it seem like he’d never said it before and I don’t think he knew how happy it made me. Austin you were a tremendous Brother and a great friend to many. This University and Fraternity were a better place with you around. Thank you for showing me how life can be lived to its fullest. No matter the situation you truly did “Go In.” Rest Easy Big Ek. We all love you Brother.“
Perhaps the most poignant comments came from Legends of Delta Lambda Chairman Brent Wolfe Sembler ’78. Following the funeral, Sembler wrote,
“Brothers, I know our chapter has had many proud moments.
For me, today was the day in which I have NEVER been more proud to be a Delta Lambda Pike!
Two hundred, humbled, dark suited, clean shaven, bright eyed Pike undergraduates sat proudly through an hour and a half service; many stood and spoke directly & wonderfully to Austin’s family.
At Austin’s grave site they stood absolutely quiet, in 100 degree heat, WITH their suits on until ALL others had said their good-byes. They then, (all 200!) huddled over his open grave, saying a group prayer so they would be the last to say goodbye.
After this they surrounded Austin’s father (his mother too distraught) so they could talk about Austin, cry and walked with Austin’s father until he left the cemetery.
I don’t really have words to express my feelings about today right now. Still crying as I write this. But I can tell you it was the most moving thing I’ve seen or been a part of in my 60 years!
Joseph Smalley ‘75
Initiation year: 1975
Reprinted from Joe Smalley’s obituary in the Ft Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, March 13, 1999
When Mr. Smalley returned to Germany after his father’s funeral, he began having headaches. A doctor found a fast-growing, lethal tumor on Mr. Smalley’s brain.
Before he lost his speech, he made an 18-minute tape, which is still posted on his Web site. In a soft voice, he chats matter-of-factly about the unspeakable. “God means this for my good and for others’ good,” he says on the tape. “I’ve never doubted it. I’m not afraid. Don’t be afraid.”
On the tape Mr. Smalley also describes a moment of grieving that he shared with Remy while thumbing through books.
“He said, ‘Dad, why are you crying?’ And I said, ‘One of the things that I looked forward to was reading these books to you, and it hurts.'”
“He knew he was going into the presence of God,” Dobbins said. “That makes people say, ‘Is my faith really that strong, to know you’re standing on the brink and look forward to it?
‘ He didn’t want to go. He wanted to be with his kids, but he knew God was going to use this for his glory.” Mr. Smalley graduated in 1974 from Stranahan High Schoolin Fort Lauderdale, where he was a star linebacker and Honor Society member.
While a student at Florida State University, he decided to become a missionary, turning down several job offers to join Campus Crusade for Christ. He ran an affiliate program, Athletes in Action. In 1984, he moved to Germany and became AIA’s European Director. Mr. Smalley asked his boyhood friend and fraternity Brother Ted Moses ’77to plan a memorial service that would share his faith along with their memories.
.”He wanted a bash,” said Moses, a Fort Lauderdale businessman. “We’ll pass around a mike and let his friends talk. He’ll be with us forever. He’s a guy we’ll never let go of.”
Mr. Smalley is survived by his mother, Cherie Smalley; two brothers, Jim Smalley ’73of Orlando and David Smalley ‘79of Fort Lauderdale; his wife, Francine; and their three children, Remy, 9, Michele, 4, and Steven, 1.
Richard Tracy Lee
Initiation year: 1986
Richard Tracy Lee ‘86 passed into Chapter Eternal on June 1, 2019. He was a practicing attorney in Sarasota. Tracywas also certified by the American Polygraph Association, by the NBLS Board Criminal Law and he was an NRA instructor. In addition, he owned Equestria Quarter Horse Ranch, the home of the World Champion Quarter Horse “Captain”.
But while the Law was his profession, Tracy’s passion was teaching and coaching wrestling. He was thrilled to have just recently been named the Head Wrestling Coach for Sarasota High School and for the AAU/ Sunshine State Games.
Tracy died doing what he loved. Sportswriter Mark Palmer described the scene: “Tracy Lee passed away after taking on a college-age opponent at the Sunshine State Games in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Saturday. Lee, who just last month became head wrestling coach at Sarasota High School, took some of his wrestlers to the Sunshine State Games, which had wrestling competitions for a wide range of age groups, up to age 70. Lee pulled on a Sarasota Sailor singlet and faced off against a college-age competitor who was the Ukrainian national champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, according to assistant coach Cam Holland.
“The place is crowded, there are five mats, a huge gym, and when Tracy and this man started wrestling, everybody circled the mat,” Holland told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “It was like five rows deep and when they got done wrestling, everybody just stood and clapped. That was a match. That was respect. It was a championship-caliber match.”
Not long after the match ended, Lee collapsed and was taken to nearby hospital, where he died of an apparent heart attack. How fine would it be to know that our life’s journey would end with both a smile and a victory.
RIP at 51
Brother Toby DeYoung added his personal remembrance of Tracy:
Tracy passed away of a massive heart attack on June 1, 2019. It’s so bizarre. As you know, I live in St. Petersburg, about an hour north of Sarasota and heard nothing about Tracy’s passing on June 1st. Then, Joanne and I were in the Sarasota Yacht Club having lunch on Saturday, June 8th, and I walked past a table set up in the main dining room. The pictures of the table are attached. I said to Joanne, “hey, that’s my fraternity brother and friend Tracy Lee”. At first glance, I thought he was hosting a fundraiser or something along those lines. Joanne grabbed my arm and said “oh no, this is not good”. I looked closer and clearly saw that it was a memorial. I was absolutely heartbroken.
Note in the picture the Pi K A teddy bear on the table. That bear was given to him upon by his big sister upon his initiation. The pic in his wrestling tights was what he looked like when we were pledges. In 1986, Tracy drove a white BMW 325i which, along with Chad Johnson’s same car in red, and a couple of other 3 series BMW’s owned by other brothers, went into the homecoming parade that year. I think we sang Randy Newman’s “It’s lonely at the top” over and over as we drove along the parade route. Those were good times and will live on in our hearts forever.
As a side note, you’ll notice in the links above that Cam Holland was one of the pall bearers. He was also in Tracy’s pledge class. Times like these always make me reflect on how truly blessed we all are to be Delta Lambda Pikes and how our experiences as such has enriched all of our lives.