Lawrence W. Allen helped countless people catch flights over the years working as a skycap for Northwest and Delta Air Lines, but he was also a globe-trotter in his own right.
Whether riding his motorcycle to Sturgis, S.D., or taking an annual cruise on the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage, Allen was up for adventure.
"His attitude with life was to enjoy it," said Marc Almand of Plymouth, who had known Allen since grade school.
The two grew up together in Chicago, both attending St. Dorothy's School.
"He was like a brother. I got spankings from his mother and my mother gave him spankings," Almand said with a laugh. Over 20 years ago, they both ended up in the Twin Cities and carried on their brotherly bond.
Allen, affectionately known as Larry and LA, died of COVID-19 complications Aug. 2, one week after his 70th birthday. He most recently lived in Edina, but he lived for several years in St. Paul and Rosemount.
A memorial service was held Aug. 13, and he was laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
Allen was drafted into the Army in 1970 and stationed at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, N.Y. In the early '80s, he earned degrees in accounting and computer science from Chicago's Loop Community College and DeVry Institute of Technology. He started working in the airline industry while still living in Chicago and later transferred to Minneapolis. He retired from Delta two years ago but still worked part time in security.
Allen frequented Patrick McGovern's Pub in St. Paul on Sundays with close friends to watch football, his favorite pastime.
"Everyone considered him a best friend because he was a lovable guy," Almand said.
Allen cheered for the Vikings, but "his No. 1 in his heart team was the Chicago Bears," Almand said. "He was a Bears fan first."
Dave Sowl of Bloomington said football isn't the same without Allen around.
"He lived for football season. He liked to get some bets in and ride the roller coaster of watching the game — like a kid in the candy store," he said.
Sowl, who earned the nickname "soul man" from Allen, worked with Allen at the airport for several years, and they played softball together.
He described Allen as charismatic with a good sense of humor and the one who always got the party going. Allen was the catalyst for gathering the guys at McGovern's, a tradition they will carry on in Allen's memory.
"I'm going to miss growing old with him," Sowl said.
Kim Hyatt • 612-673-4751