Longtime Turlock resident and educator John Brereton Allard passed away at Covenant Village Care Center. He was 85 years old.
Allard was very active in the community, as a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Turlock, the Turlock Rotary Club, the Masonic Lodge and local Republican Party. But he is remembered most as an educator and administrator.
He began his teaching career at Turlock High School. It wasn’t long before he felt called to be an administrator and became principal of Julien Elementary School in Turlock. He then moved on to be superintendent of Denair Schools, and Delta Island and Waterford school districts after that. In 1979, he became the Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools, a position he held until 1991.
"As County Superintendent of Schools for 12 years (1979-1991), John Allard left his footprint on education in Stanislaus County. He truly cared about children and helped develop and implement educational programs so all students could be successful. Having worked first as a teacher, Mr. Allard held numerous educational positions over the years and touched the lives of many students. He will be remembered and missed by many," said current County Superintendent of Schools Tom Changnon.
Allard’s dedication to the education of local students was recognized in 1993 when a county alternative school, located in Turlock, was named after him. Allard was a driving force behind the creation of the alternative school in 1982 when he pointed out that 4,000 school refugees on the streets needed to be returned to the education process.
“Little did I ever dream 40 years ago when (the late Turlock High superintendent) John Pitman offered me a job teaching at Turlock High School that I’d be here in a situation like this,” Allard said at the July 1993 dedication ceremony of the John B. Allard Center.
Along with the alternative school, Allard was also instrumental in numerous programs to benefit local students. In a proclamation in recognition of Allard, the County Board of Education thanked him for developing such programs as the Occupational Olympics and Career Exposition, State Junior High Spelling Competition, Juvenile Hall Year Round Education Program, Special Education Early Intervention Mock Trials, and many more.
“He was always looking for new ideas and looking for programs to supplement the school district,” said former Superintendent of Schools Martin Petersen, who succeeded Allard in 1991. “He brought the Academic Decathlon to the county. It was one of his pride-and-joys; it was part of his legacy.
“John was always such a gracious man who really loved what he did.”
When not at work, Allard could be found outdoors. An active naturalist, he served in the State Park System for 15 summers providing campfire programs and nature walks. In fact, he wrote a Field Guide for the Richardson Grove State Park. Allard also served on the California State Parks Commission.
A lifelong Californian, Allard was born in Willows to Howard and Louise Allard. He attended schools in Willows and graduated from Willows High School in 1943. John served in the Army in World War II and received a Purple Heart for his injuries during the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war John continued his education at Sacramento City College and Sacramento State. In 1950 John married the love of his life, Betty LaRue Brown. She preceded him in death after 54 years of marriage in 2004.
John is survived by his three children, Walter and his wife, Nanci, Allard of Turlock; John Jr. and his wife, Lisa, Allard of Roseville and Gayle and her husband, Jose, Bolorinos of Madrid, Spain; 12 grandchildren; sister, Elizabeth Barrows of Grants Pass, Ore.
Visitation for John will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday at Allen Mortuary. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday at First Presbyterian Church, 2619 N. Berkeley Ave., in Turlock.
A complete obituary can be found on page A6.
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