Allison, 87, died Wednesday afternoon, according to WWJ-AM (950). A cause of death wasn’t revealed, but his health recently made his move to a nursing home necessary. WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) reported he had recently fell at his home.
His real last name was of Allesee, which was considered too ethnic by radio executives of the Eisenhower era.
Allison and his wife, Maggie Allesee, became a power couple of philanthropy in metro Detroit, working for numerous charities and civic clubs. Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, renamed in 2000 in conjunction with her $2-million endowment, stands as one of the family’s best-known gifts.
With corporations ruling radio, TV and print in 2020, Allison remained a gentle maverick until the end. He broadcast his show on his own terms, steering “Ask Your Neighbor” by his own compass that may have seemed outdated, but kept a community of listeners together.
“I do the show the way I want to and if someone doesn’t like it, that’s fine, turn something else on,” Allison told the Free Press all those years ago. “I don’t pander. And I don’t talk down to people.”
He talked with people. That’s how Bob Allison will be remembered.
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Congratulations to Shekhar Mehta, of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, on being selected to serve as the President of Rotary International for 2021-2022.