Don McKinzie Allison, known as Donnie Allison (March 26, 1962 – May 24, 2011), was a musician and vocalist from Lubbock, Texas. He sang on Music Television and performed at the Cactus Theater in Lubbock in such productions as Jesus Christ Superstar and Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story, the saga of the Lubbock rock and roll singer Buddy Holly.
Allison was born in Wichita Falls and moved to Lubbock with his family shortly after a series of tornadoes devastated Lubbock on May 4, 1970. He graduated from Coronado High School there and attended Texas Tech University. He graduated from South Plains College, a community college based in Levelland, Texas. At the time of his death, Allison was employed by GrantWorks, Inc., in Lubbock, a planning, housing, and community development service for rural Texas since 1979.
By the late 1970s, Allison had formed his own rock and roll band called "Impeccable" and thereafter joined The Nelsons, organized by guitarist John Sprott. He became the lead singer for the P. J. Belly Blues Band, which performed at the since defunct Lubbock blues club known as "Belly's." He also created the doo wop group, The J.D.'s, which performs at the Cactus Theater. During his musical career, Allison went from being a long-haired rocker to a short-haired cowboy.
Allison was known for perfection in music. Toby Caldwell, a former sound engineer at the Cactus Theater, located on Buddy Holly Avenue near the old-style rock and roll radio station KDAV, said, "Donnie was always very particular about what he wanted to hear in the monitor" and was constantly striving for improvement. "His gentle but definite guidance in running sound, playing music, directing a band or production, and in living life through adversity, will stay with me for the rest of my life," Caldwell told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
Death and legacy
Allison died at the age of forty-nine of a four-year battle with cancer at a Lubbock hospice. He was cremated. His survivors were his wife of sixteen years, Maria Stephanie Andrade Huff Allison, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; his son, Zachary Wayne Allison, and his parents, Wayne Allison and Jane Shawver Allison; a sister, Jana Allison Jones and husband Steve, and a brother, David W. Allison.
At the memorial service on May 28, 2011, held at the nondenominational Trinity Church in Lubbock, Allison's friends recalled his character and talent. Texas musician Jay Boy Adams, who frequently performed with Allison, said that "Donnie never let me down with his many performances at the Cactus, which truly showcased his versatility. But more importantly, he was so humble and such a fine, fine person."
Guitarist Mike Pritchard referred to Allison as "a good Christian man and was totally devoted to his family. In his battle with his illness, I never heard him complain or question God. He taught me the meaning of the word dignity." His friend Junior Vasquez said that Allison could "walk into any room, the room would come alive. I remember his words of encouragement, his funny ways of telling stories, and all of his impersonations."
During his illness, Don and Stephanie Allison established "Celebrate Today," a foundation created to assist cancer patients with financial needs not covered through insurance.
- William Kerns,"Lubbock musician Don Allison loses battle with cancer at age 49", May 25, 2011. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved on September 3, 2011.
- Don Allison obituary. lubbockonline.com. Retrieved on September 3, 2011.
- GrantWorks. grantworks.net. Retrieved on September 3, 2011.
- Memorial service for singer Don Allison planned today at Trinity Church, May 28, 2011. lubbockonline.com. Retrieved on September 3, 2011.
- William Kerns, Allison's friends share memories. lubbockonline.com. Retrieved on September 3, 2011.
Written and submitted by Billy Hathorn, September 3, 2011