John Florain Allee
  • 71 years old
  • Date of birth: Jun 27, 1941
  • Date of passing: Jul 3, 2012
Let the memory of John be with us forever

OBITUARY as published in the July 19, 2012, edition of the Newark Advocate (Newark, OH).

John F. Allee

NEWARK: Local photographer John F. Allee, who photographed everything from four presidents to some "mighty fine cows," died July 3, 2012.

He was an Advocate news photographer in the 1970s and then a freelancer for 34 years, known for his photos of the Licking County Courthouse, sports, and hundreds of local families. The Hospice of Central Ohio unit at Licking Memorial Hospital provided shelter due power outages. He died there with his wife at his side, following a two-year illness.

A celebration of life for Allee, 71, of Newark, will be 1 pm, Sat., July 28, at Marne United Methodist Church, 1019 Licking Valley Rd NE, Marne. Lunch will be served during an open mic session for friends and family to share memories and observations.

The family will exhibit Allee's photographs and friends and former customers are invited to bring own their favorites for display. Reservations are helpful but not required by calling 740-345-6711,e-mailing, or for those with a Facebook account, by registering on-line at

Following a career as photojournalist for the Advocate and the Marion Consumer News, Allee was owner-operator of Allee Photography from 1977-2011 with his wife, Judith Waite Allee. They traveled with their daughter, Nancy, to 14 states photographing conferences and events and visiting homeschool host families en route. His wife co-authored Educational Travel on a Shoestring, based in part on those experiences.

In the 9th grade, Allee ruined the first roll of film he tried to develop. Intrigued rather than discouraged, he became a high school and college yearbook photographer, graduating in Fine Arts from Ohio University with a major in photography.

Allee wrote on his website that when he left Cincinnati for his job at The Newark Advocate, friends thought he was being "banished to the boonies" and wondered what he would photograph-cows and sunsets? The joking didn't bother him, and living in a rural community became more of an escape than banishment.

"I admit I've photographed some beautiful sunsets and some mighty fine-looking cows," he quipped, "but also four U.S. presidents and events ranging from sports to human interest stories. I've been blessed"

The largest group he photographed was almost 300 clowns at ClownTown, a Newark event. One of his photographs of the Licking County Courthouse at Christmas was published on the county telephone book cover and county map.

Allee also sold thousands of courthouse photos, finding that some customers bought multiple copies to send around the world to family members and friends, especially those in the military.

The late Bruce Humphrey, who was editor at the Newark Advocate when Allee worked there, asked Allee to pick out his all-time favorite photo and write about it. Humphrey posted the photo and an article at The photo captured eight children with disabilities playing "follow the leader," an example of "the Decisive Moment" concept of famed photojournalist, Henri Cartier-Bresson. Allee wrote this about his favorite photo:

"That these were just kids having fun became the concept of the project. Granted, if you look closely you can tell the kids probably have a disability of some sort. To me they are just kids. They are more like other kids than they are different. I know that there are a lot of people out there who can't see that. I have probably applied for a job from a number of them and my physical deformities were all they saw."

He was referring to congenital bone anomalies that caused some people to make assumptions about his physical or mental abilities.

Aside from photography, his hobby was working on his 1820 log home on Chickenville Hill in eastern Licking County. Considered an "uninhabitable dwelling" when he purchased the home in the mid-1970s, he weathered a winter with an outhouse, then installed "indoor facilities." For guests, he provided a large piece of cardboard on which he wrote "door."

Through many years of work on the house, reputed to have been a stagecoach stop and a stop on the Underground Railroad, his long-term goal was to preserve it for another generation.

His wife is opening the historic homestead to visits from friends and family members before the home goes up for sale.

Allee was past president of the Moundbuilders Toastmasters club and one-time winner of Toastmasters' central Ohio speech contest. He was a member of Licking County Arts, where he exhibited two one-man shows: Alaska-Land of Contrast, from his three-month sabbatical trip in 1973, and a retrospective in 1985.

He also was a longtime member of the Licking County Computer Society and its digital photography group and past member of several professional photographer and child advocacy groups for foster care and adoption. He volunteered with Mental Health America during the 14 years his wife worked there.

Born June 27, 1941, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Allee was son of the late Frances "Hank" and Emma (Slaughter) Allee.

Surviving are his wife, whom he married March 8, 1980; daughter; and grandson, Noah John Allee, all of Newark; sisters, Donna Frazee and Shirley Brooks, both of Cincinnati; nieces; nephews; former foster children and friends; including special friends, David Levingston, Don Smith, Jim Shaw and Linda Hunkins.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Moundbuilders Toastmasters Club, c/o 9383 Swamp Rd., Hebron OH 43025, to create a scholarship fund for adults with an important message who want to communicate it more effectively.

An on-line guestbook at a memorial website is at

Allee's printable poem called A Father's Hands is posted there, illustrated with a photo of his hands. The poem reads:

His doctor said, "They will be very limited."

His mother said, "They are beautiful. They can do anything."

The other kids just pointed and laughed.

His friends forgot why they had thought he looked strange.

His wife never noticed. She saw a man with love in his heart.

His daughter said. "Daddy, how do you do so many amazing things with your hands?"

John says, "We are all in Our Father's hands."

Published in the The Advocate from July 18 to July 19, 2012
Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Judith Allee on 30th June 2013

"We honored John's birthday, June 27, by breaking bread with a few old friends: Mindy Kyshwonis from Toastmasters, Rosemary Barboza, who helped us adopt Nancy, and Rosemary's mother, who hosted Nancy's "baby shower" when we adopted Nancy at age 3 1/2. I had forgotten that Rosemary's deceased son, Tony, shared the same birthday. Tony would have been 38. Happy reflections on 2 special people."

This tribute was added by Eriyah Flynn on 25th July 2012

"Reading over these loving comments brought tears to my eyes, what a wonderful life, and such a warm presence he was and yet leaves behind. I'm so very sorry for your loss, Judith. I can imagine how much you miss him. Hugs to you."

This tribute was added by Teresa Ambrus on 22nd July 2012

"I knew John to be a kind, caring person with a quick wit - always ready with an appropriate comment that made me laugh – and a very gifted artist with a compassion for others.  His photography was only part of his god-given talent - his poem, A Father’s Hands and his favorite photo (“The Moment”) showed the other gift God gave John - his ability to see others for their true worth."

This tribute was added by Nancy Allee on 21st July 2012

"My father was the kindest man I have ever met. I have struggled through the years to find a man more my age like my mother did. I just can't seem to find the right man who can live up to dad's quality's. He is a tough act to follow. The sky has gained a new star. Love you Dad."

This tribute was added by Maxim Muir on 19th July 2012

"Tank you, thank you John. Without your kindness, patience, and encouragement, I would not be a photographer this very day. We will all miss your loving spirit, but we take solace in the wonderful photos you leave behind. Have a wonderful, blissful, eternal rest good brother."

This tribute was added by Rochelle Paul on 19th July 2012

"The world is a better place because of John and his amazing attitude and skills.  May we all follow his legacy and live life abundantly!"

This tribute was added by Paul-Debbie Reimer on 18th July 2012

"I'm forever grateful that Judith coaxed, pleaded or pushed John to become a part of Toastmasters.  He overcame whatever hesitancies he had to public speaking and was transformed into the 'Toastmonster' who made us laugh and encouraged the rest of us to do our best.  Our paths crossed too few times after that, but those years we had in the club together are precious to me."

This tribute was added by Rosemary Barboza on 18th July 2012

"One of my favorite picture postcards sent by John and Judith:  a snapshot of the two of them on their first anniversary with the caption:  "Still Crazy After All This Year!""

This tribute was added by Rosemary Barboza on 18th July 2012

"So many memories...!st one:  John's donuts and cider at our practice...a wedding based on much love that only deepened with time...birthday photos...Proud papa and then proud grandpa...such skill and humility...the Courthouse Christmas photo...heartbreaks and celebrations...Thanks for all, Amazing John!"

This tribute was added by Rosann Hofstatter on 18th July 2012

"Although the time I knew John and his loving family was brief, the memory was lasting; My father and step-mother live just up the road on Chickenville Hill and it was John who took several family and wedding pictures for us. The thing that struck me was the gentleness he exhibbited and the loving bond that he and his wife shared. God bless you all!"

This tribute was added by Betty L Porter on 18th July 2012

"To Judy and family,
I am so sorry to read of John's passing in my newsletter this morning.  May you have comfort in the many memories and support from many friends who loved and appreciated John.  God Bless."

This tribute was added by Mindy Robertson Kshywonis on 18th July 2012

"Judith and John were among the first friends we made when we moved to Granville.  They welcomed us warmly to Toastmasters and we shared some good laughs, good food, and made some good memories.  John was so proud of his family.  We are so proud of John.  The world lost a wonderful man, heaven is now richer."

This tribute was added by Harry Lyons on 18th July 2012

"How precious to have known John for a brief 20 years. Both of us being old school photographers, John was kind enough to pass on his enlarger to me when he went Digital. An aperture F64 barely describes John's life that covered the greatest depths of field in kindness and friendship to everyone he met."

This tribute was added by Jennifer Moran on 18th July 2012

"Judith, Sorry to hear about Johns Passing, He was a great photographer, I would like to Thank you and him for doing my Senior Pictures they were awesome. I still have the Portfolio but the binding is starting to come apart. he was an inspiration to me and I am so Thankful that I got to meet you both. May God Bless you in all that you do."

This tribute was added by Mary Ann Miller on 18th July 2012

"I conder it a great privledge to have know John. I first met John when he took an interest in several young people in my 4-H group. He taught us about photography and allowed us to work at the Adovcate in his dark room. That was back in the '70's. Everytime I would see him in later years he would always remember who I was. He was such a kind man!"

This tribute was added by Judith Allee on 14th July 2012

"LEROY AND JOHN (PART 2 OF 2) hooked us up with a very kind, gentle man who loves snakes and hates to see any harm come to them. The first time, Leroy was gone by the time our snake handler got there. The 2nd time Leroy was curled up, as advertised. The handler snatched up the snake with his bare hands and popped it in a burlap bag. The handler pronounced that . . .SHE . . .was PREGNANT."

This tribute was added by Judith Allee on 14th July 2012

About 30 years ago, a snake appeared a few times in John's darkroom, which was, of course, DARK! John, who was on a deadline, named it Leroy and continued printing. Made John pretty jumpy, though, as you can imagine. Leroy curled up next to the nice warm water heater for short visits. Rick Yantis, our fearless 4H leader (SEE PART 2)"

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This memorial is administered by:

Judith Allee


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