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Allen recalled as dedicated clinician, educator, researcher

Oct. 13, 2016, 9:23 AM

Longtime Vanderbilt University School of Medicine faculty member Joseph Allen Jr., M.D., professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, emeritus, died Sept. 16 at 91.

Joseph Allen Jr., M.D.
Joseph Allen Jr., M.D.

A renowned physician, researcher and educator, Dr. Allen helped launch Vanderbilt’s program in Neuroradiology in 1965 — the first such program of its kind in the Southeast — and served as director until his retirement in 1988.

“Dr. Allen, an exceptionally talented and earnest educator, was a lifelong learner himself. Even after he retired in 1988, he always enjoyed remaining connected with our faculty and trainees,” said Reed Omary, M.D., M.S., Carol D. and Henry P. Pendergrass Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and chair of the department.

Dr. Allen studied at Westminster College and Washington University in Saint Louis on an accelerated program to prepare physicians for military service during World War II, receiving his medical degree from Washington University in 1948. After post-graduate training he entered the U.S. Army as a medical officer and spent two years stationed in Germany.

Dr. Allen completed his training in Radiology at Vanderbilt, where he met his wife of 50 years, Bettye Johnson, who died in 2006. The couple enjoyed traveling and gardening, and were enthusiastic supporters of the Nashville Opera and volunteered with the Nashville Adult Literacy Council for many years.

Dr. Allen is survived by sons Joe and Kirby Allen and five grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to West End United Methodist Church (, 615-321-8500), the Nashville Opera (, 615-832-5242) and the Nashville Adult Literacy Council (, 615-298-8060).

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