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News from Mac Baldrige Society Member Mid-America Transplant

Southeast Missouri Veteran Becomes Oldest Donor Hero on Record

After a long life of heroic service to his country and community, Mr. Orville Duane Allen and his family made one final act of service – choosing organ donation. By donating his liver, Mr. Allen gave someone a second chance at life and secured a place of honor as the oldest organ donor ever in the United States at 98 years old.

“Our dad was beloved by his family, his students, and the soldiers he led because he was such a caring man who brought out the best in others,” said Linda Mitchelle, Mr. Allen’s daughter. “We are grateful to Mid-America Transplant and St. Francis Medical Center for the opportunity to continue his impact through organ donation – a decision I know he would have made without hesitation.”

Left: Lt. Allen in 1951 with his wife, Alice Geraldine Allen.  Right: Mr. Allen with his youngest great-granddaughter at her baptism.

A lifelong resident of southeast Missouri, Mr. Allen was a veteran of both World War II, serving as a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps, and the Korean War, supporting artillery communications in the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division. After returning home, he served for 27 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel. He also devoted nearly four decades to teaching vocational agriculture to generations of students at Neelyville High School, his alma mater. His family included his late wife of 70 years and their three children, three grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. 

Thanks to his family’s decision to donate, Mr. Allen’s liver saved the life of a 72-year-old woman following a successful transplant on May 31, 2024. 

“Mr. Allen was truly a hero, and it is an honor and a privilege to be part of his legacy,” said Kevin Lee, president and CEO at Mid-America Transplant. “We hope his final act of kindness as a donor hero inspires others, regardless of age, to say yes to lifesaving organ and tissue donation.”

Anyone, no matter their age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor. Visit to register and tell your family of your decision.

About Mid-America Transplant

Mid-America Transplant enables adults and children to receive lifesaving gifts through organ and tissue donations. For 50 years, it has facilitated and coordinated organ, tissue, and eye donation, and now serves 84 counties covering eastern Missouri, southern Illinois, and northeast Arkansas that together are home to 4.7 million people. It saves lives by providing expert and compassionate care for organ donors, recipients, and families, and transforms the clinical processes required to recover and transplant organs and tissues. Mid-America Transplant was the first such organization in the U.S. to use an in-house operating room for organ recovery and pioneered innovative models of increasing donor registry enrollment in an effort to provide organs and tissues to those in need. It is federally designated as one of 56 such organizations in the U.S., and is the first organ procurement organization to be recognized as a recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for Performance Excellence, and the only two-time recipient. For more information, visit