Walter Wayne Allen, retired Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Phillips Petroleum Company, passed away on Friday, April 8, 2022 in Houston, Texas at the age of 85 years. A graveside service will be 2:00 p.m. April 23, 2022 at Fairlawn Cemetery in Stillwater, Oklahoma under the direction of Strode Funeral Home.
Wayne, as he was best known, was born and spent his boyhood in Fort Smith, Arkansas before moving to Stillwater, Oklahoma for his high school years. It was there that he attended Oklahoma State University, graduating in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with petroleum option. He would later earn a master’s degree from OSU in industrial engineering. At OSU, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and ROTC. Upon graduation he married his high school sweetheart, Judith Ann Hillier, to whom he was married for 63 years.
Following university, Wayne served as a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army, stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey and assigned to McGuire Air Force Base in the New York Air Defense Sector. His unit there was responsible for the surface-to-air missile defense of New York City and nearby areas. After completing active duty, he continued serving in the army reserves, becoming a unit commander and ultimately attaining the rank of captain.
In 1961 Wayne joined Phillips Petroleum Company. He held assignments in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Côte d’Ivoire before being named vice-president in 1988. He was elected to the Board of Directors the following year, served two years as head of worldwide exploration and production, and was named President and Chief Operating Officer of the company in 1991. He served in that capacity until he was named Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer in 1994, a position he held until his retirement in 1999.
During his career and retirement Wayne was an active and generous participant on many boards and in various non-profit philanthropies. Among these organizations were the American Petroleum Institute, the Business Roundtable, the Conference Board, the US Council for International Business, and the National Petroleum Council. He was a board member of the Kansas City District of the Federal Reserve. He served as a director of the US Chamber of Commerce and as chairman of the board of directors of The State Chamber of Oklahoma. He was a trustee of the board of governors of the Oklahoma State University Foundation and led the very successful “Bringing Dreams to Life” fund-raising campaign for the university. He served as chairman for National Engineers Week in 1998. Mr. Allen was a longtime supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and served as chairman of the Southwest Region and on their National Board of Governors.
Mr. Allen received numerous honors and awards. In 1992, he was inducted into the Oklahoma State University College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was inducted into the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association Hall of Fame. In 1996, he received the Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award from OSU. In 1997, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Also, earlier in his career when he managed the Phillips Petroleum operation in Côte d’Ivoire he was recognized for his contributions to the country by being named Commandeur de l'Ordre National de la République de Côte d'Ivoire.
After his retirement Wayne continued his interest in education by establishing and maintaining a premier scholarship program for outstanding engineering students at OSU, the W.W. Allen Scholars Program. A feature of the program is that the Allen Scholars are given the opportunity to attend Cambridge University in the UK for post-graduate study. He also established and maintained a similar engineering scholarship program at OSU for members of the Boys & Girls Club, the W.W. Allen Boys & Girls Club Program.
Wayne’s early experiences resulted in lifelong interests. He learned to fish as a boy and enjoyed the sport, especially fly fishing, with his favorite companions, his two sons. Summer employment as a teen by the US Forest Service working in Glacier National Park introduced to him to the beauty of the mountains. After his retirement, he joined these two interests at his summer home on the Pecos River east of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Being an optimistic person by nature contributed to making Wayne a beloved husband, father, and friend. He was caring and generous to those around him. He was quick to see the positive in people and was interested in helping them find solutions to their problems.
Traveling to new locations and having new experiences started early when Wayne worked on pipeline construction crews and received military training as a young man. Later, as a Phillips employee he traveled extensively and lived overseas on several international assignments. These experiences were invaluable when he became an executive with many worldwide responsibilities, as he possessed a great deal of insight into the conduct of international business.
Wayne was pre-deceased by his parents, his sister Verna Janelle Allen Force, his brother John Don Allen, and his son Dr. Robert Wayne Allen.
He is survived by his wife Judith, his son David Wayne Allen, his grandson Joshua Lee Allen, and his granddaughter Jennifer Leigh Allen.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of W.W. Allen may be made in support of the W.W. Allen Scholars Program at the OSU Foundation by mail to PO Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076-1749 or online at osugiving.com.