Richard Alvin Wallen | Obituary

    Richard Alvin Wallen
    Date of Birth
    Date of Death

    Richard “Dick” Wallen, 84, passed away peacefully on July 3, 2022. He was born to Alvin and Venus Wallen in Glendale, CA in 1937. A third generation Californian, Dick grew up in Alhambra, where he attended Alhambra High School.

    During his time as a Moor, Dick was commissioner of athletics, student body president, and a member of the Moors 1955 CIF Champion Basketball Team. Dick was a multi-sport athlete earning 11 letters in football, basketball, track, and tennis. While he enjoyed all the sports he played, it was football that became his passion. After four outstanding years on the field, culminating with being awarded the Pacific League CIF Player of the Year, the University of California Los Angeles extended Dick a football scholarship, allowing him to continue to play the sport he loved most.

    It was during his years as a Moor, that Dick met his longtime love and future wife, Lorna Mae Kiech. Their high school romance only grew stronger when they both decided to attend UCLA in the fall of 1955.

    From the moment Dick stepped on the UCLA campus, his football career exploded. Coach Red Sanders converted him from a wing back to a tight end his freshman year. Dick took quickly to the new position, which ultimately earned him one of the most coveted awards in college football. In 1957, then only a junior, Dick was named a consensus first team All-American, with supporting nominations from the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America, Newspaper Editors Association, and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. He was the only junior named as an All-American that year.

    Following his All-American selection, the football accolades continued, and he was awarded the W.J. Voit Memorial Trophy for outstanding football player on the Pacific Coast, the American Legion Trophy as UCLA’s most valuable player, and team selections for both the Hula Bowl (’57) and the East-West Shrine game (’58). Coach Red Sanders said of Dick, “… he just has an instinct for catching a football, plus intelligence, quick judgment, and perfect balance.” Thirty-eight years after his last catch on the field, in 1996, Dick was given the ultimate honor when he was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame.

    Despite the demands of being a college athlete, Dick was an active member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Varsity Club and Key Club. He majored in physics and minored in engineering with hopes of becoming a patent lawyer. Like his success on the field, Dick excelled in the classroom. In a 1957 profile of Dick, the Los Angeles Times opined “if they were picking an All-American of model college students, this 21-year-old junior from Alhambra might be named captain of the first team.”

    After graduating from UCLA, Dick went on to receive his law degree from the University of Southern California and began his career as a patent and trademark attorney. Dick began work with the firm of Harris, Kiech, Russell and Harris, and shortly thereafter became a named partner in the firm of Harris, Kern, Wallen and Tinsley. His firm later merged with Pasadena based Christie, Parker and Hale. Dick practiced law for over 50 years, appearing in both United States and European courtrooms. He loved the challenges presented by patent and trademark law and enjoyed representing a wide variety of clients including Guess Jeans and Cartier.

    Dick and Lorna were married on December 29, 1958, and ten years later moved to the city of San Marino to raise their two daughters Lisa and Leslie. When the girls were young, Dick’s love of sports continued, as he coached both their softball and basketball teams.

    Dick enjoyed life to the fullest. He loved reading, playing lunchtime dominos at the California and Jonathan Clubs, a good steak at Monty’s, a warm fire at Christmas, UCLA tailgating, barbecuing, and watching Jeopardy. Most of all, Dick loved being with his family.

    He gave his girls a firm appreciation for the outdoors, as he took them backpacking and camping in Mammoth and the High Sierras. He loved quail hunting in Mexico and fly-fishing in Montana and enjoyed sharing those adventures with his family. He never missed an opportunity to travel with his bride Lorna, and some of their favorite destinations were Hawaii, Scotland, the Caribbean, and Alaska. The highlight of their travels was a trip to Zimbabwe for an African safari in 1994.

    In his later years, Dick enjoyed being with all four of his grandchildren. You could always find him on the sidelines or front row of each of his grandkid’s games, matches, or performances. Summers were spent on Balboa Island treating the grandkids to home cooked omelets, frozen bananas, and rides on the Ferris wheel. He was quite fond of waking them up early to bodysurf Big Corona and could always be counted on to watch the Thursday evening “beer can races” and summer sunset.

    Dick is survived by his wife of 64 years, Lorna, and his two daughters, Lisa (Honea) and Leslie (Long); sons-in-law Jeff Honea and Pat Long; his grandchildren Hayes and Hali Honea and Tommy and Brendan Long. He is preceded in death by his parents, Alvin and Venus Wallen and sister Gloria Davis.

    A celebration of life will be held on Friday, July 22, from 4-6 p.m. at the San Gabriel Country Club.