2011 Grad Dies in San Leandro

photo courtesy of Lamorinda Patch

Nick Johnson, Staff Writer

Alumnus Kieran Ryan Allen passed away suddenly, at the age of 20, on April 2 in San Leandro. According to his mother, Kate Allen, he was a gifted artist, a talented guitar player and a writer.

As reported by The Lamorinda Patch, Allen grew up in Lafayette and graduated from Campolindo in 2011. He attended Diablo Valley College, where he studied American Sign Language. He was enrolled at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, before he passed away.

While Allen attended Campolindo, English teacher Nathan Ward was one of his instructors for both his freshman and senior year.   “He was a very quiet, very soft spoken young man,” Ward said. “He definitely had an artistic sensibility to him. He and I kind of bonded over his good taste in music. He enjoyed underground indie rock bands that the average Campo student would never have heard of,” he said.

One of the bands that Allen liked was Neutral Milk Hotel, formed by singer, guitarist and songwriter Jeff Mangum in the 1980’s. “He was a huge fan of that band and he and I would talk about them,” Ward said.

According to Ward, Allen had a couple of very close friends. “They were really small, but tightly knit friends,” Ward remembered. “They were more artsy and musical than the typical kid,” he said.

Kate Allen described her son as amusing, artistic, and a good writer. She cherishes his clay sculptures, paintings and poems, and treasures thoughts of being with him at Stinson Beach. “I have many fond memories of Kieran at Stinson Beach, which was his favorite place on earth,” she wrote in an email.

Ward found out Kieran Allen had passed away from one of Kieran’s closest friends. “They were in the same graduating class together, and he was very shaken up and very upset,” Ward remembered.

“Some of my funniest memories of him are when we’d see Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons coming to the door and I would tell the kids not to answer the doorbell,” Kate Allen said. “Of course, Kieran wouldn’t listen, and he would always open the door so he could debate the proselytizers about complex and controversial matters. Usually, they left speechless!” she added.