This past spring, a beautiful live oak was planted in SaddleBrooke in remembrance of a man who lived in the community for the past six years. Joe Allen was a Master Gardener, and his fellow Master Gardeners felt he would appreciate the planting of a tree that would shade his neighborhood and be home to migrating and resident birds as a tribute to his life.
SaddleBrooke resident Joe Allen passed away on Nov. 21, 2022, at Casa de la Luz following a brief illness. He had been recently diagnosed with widespread cancer.
Joe was born in Jacksonville, Fla., on Feb. 12, 1943, and spent most of his early years on a family farm in South Georgia. It was there he developed a lifelong love of plants and nature.
He completed his undergraduate studies at Valdosta College in Georgia and went on to receive two master’s degrees in nuclear engineering and health physics at Georgia Tech and Emory University. He worked in medical physics, diagnostics, and radiation therapy, spending most of his career as chief of radiation therapy at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisc.
Joe was an accomplished tenor and performed as a soloist and in operas and oratorios during his time in Milwaukee. He met his wife Susan, a baritone in their musical group, through a mutual friend during those early years. Susan laughs, “Joe always said the girl usually went with the baritone, but in our case, it was the tenor who got the girl.” Joe and Susan were married in Milwaukee in 1977.
After successful careers in Milwaukee, the couple moved to San Diego and in 2017 settled in SaddleBrooke where they enjoyed birding, gardening, and the beautiful mountains that surrounded them.
Joe became a Master Gardener in 2017 following rigorous training through the University of Arizona Extension Program. “Joe took on many different responsibilities in the Master Gardener group, but what he enjoyed most was going on plant consultations where he could share his knowledge and love of the desert flora with others,” said Master Gardener colleague Ellen Sosin.
Joe is survived by his wife of 45 years, Susan Allen, a resident of SaddleBrooke. “Joe loved the desert,” she said. “He would be happy to know this live oak was planted where he lived.”