Mass of Christian Burial for Richard L. “Dick” Allison, age 83, of Norfolk, will be 10:30 a.m., Saturday, January 9, 2021 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Reverend Patrick McLaughlin will be the celebrant. Interment will be in Prospect Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., with a 7:00 p.m. Vigil Service at the church. The Mass will be live streamed on the Sacred Heart Facebook page. Home for Funerals is in charge of arrangements.
He passed away Thursday, December 24, 2020 at Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk.
Richard “Dick” Allison was born on October 21, 1937, to William “Shirley” Allison and Ann Allison. He grew up in a family of 9, with 3 brothers and 3 sisters. Dick married his one true love, Millie, on April 14th, 1956. They worked together to raise 3 children: Rick, Wendy, and Dan.
Dick worked throughout his career as a home builder. He and his brothers, Bob and Chuck, founded the Allison Brothers Construction company and built many homes in the Norfolk area, but his true passion was music.
Dick grew up in a family of musicians, with his father Shirley starting the Rainbow Valley Band in the early '50s. In his early teen years, Dick began to craft his singing voice into what it became: an unforgettable, powerful crooning tone. This led to countless local appearances as well as the release of a 45 record with Ron Thompson and The Broughams. This group spearheaded a movement in Midwest rock 'n' roll that included original music, recorded in Kansas City and released on Dreem Records. Their records, Dream World of Love/Tiki Guitar, on Dreem, and Switchblade/Hot Night, on Soma Records, gained them national attention, and were some of the finest and earliest Midwest rock 'n' roll recordings.
Around that time, he found the courage to approach the great Johnny Cash before an appearance in Omaha, NE, and ask for the opportunity to sing one song as an opener. Later that night, after 4 standing ovations, and 5 songs, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash asked him to join the Grand Ole Opry on tour, over a steak and a bottle of wine at a post-show dinner. This would mark the very first time the Opry was a road show. As a young singer on that tour, Dick was billed as “The next Elvis Presley” with a rosewood voice so golden and smooth.
Throughout the rest of his career, Dick was blessed with numerous opportunities to work with big name producers in Nashville and a list of stars, including the Oak Ridge Boys, Ray Price, Minnie Pearl, and George Jones. Later in his music career, his song ‘Roses for a Dime’ saw regional success and radio play through the 80’s.
He performed at venues in and around the Midwest with his bands The Allison Brothers and RedEye. Even through his elder years, his voice maintained its smoothness, and he made occasional appearances at Nebraska Rocks performances in Norfolk.
In 2016, along with his brother Bob Allison, Mike Semrad Sr., and Glen Stone, he was inducted into the Nebraska Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Performing Arts Hall of Fame.
Dick Allison helped shape the early rock ‘n’ roll music scene in Nebraska and beyond, along with bands like The Smoke Ring, The Brakman, The Chancellors, and countless others. His memory will forever live on in song with grace.
He is survived by his children Rick (Linda) Allison of Norfolk, Wendy (Tom) Adle of Omaha, and Dan Allison of Omaha, grandchildren McKenzie Leege, Ashton Allison, Braxton Allison, and Madison Allison, brother Bob (Phyllis) Allison, and sister Betty Allison.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents, wife, brothers John and Chuck Allison, and sisters Mary Forsyth and Shirley Baker.
Memorials requested to the Sacred Heart Parish or the Animal Shelter of Northeast Nebraska.
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