Allen Morrow Acheson

June 12, 1926March 4, 2012

Allen Morrow Acheson, age 85, passed away peacefully Sunday, March 4th, 2012 in Kansas City. The son of Hazel and Samuel I. Acheson, United Presbyterian missionaries, Allen was born in Tanta, Egypt, June 12, 1926. A U.S. Navy veteran along with his father, Allen served on two destroyers in the Pacific theater in the Second World War. Allen’s experience aboard ship led him to pursue engineering education under the “GI Bill.” Allen graduated from Iowa State in 1950 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Throughout his career, Allen received numerous honors and awards including the Professional Achievement Citation in Engineering from Iowa State in 1976; he was made a Life Fellow of the American Consulting Engineers Council and a Life Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In 1991 he received an award for his important contributions to the American Consulting Engineers Council and dedicated service to the international engineering community. In 1992, in retirement, Allen received the Anson Marston Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering from Iowa State University. Allen began his career in Carroll, Iowa as a power station superintendent. He also worked from 1956 to 1960, as Utilities Manager for City Power and Light in Independence, Missouri. When he retired at the end of 1991, Allen was one of seven Executive Partners of Black & Veatch when the engineering firm was still a partnership. In the early 1960s, Allen’s contribution was in the formation and leadership of Black & Veatch International Company, which was, at that time, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Black & Veatch, bringing to the company his experience with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) for whom he previously worked from 1960 to 1963. According to Black & Veatch, writing at the time of his retirement, “As President of Black & Veatch International, Allen’s energy, integrity, and dedication helped spearhead the growth of BVI.” Allen traveled to many countries over three decades, logging more than 3 million miles traveling to 59 countries, negotiating contracts and managing engineering projects. He was proud especially of Black & Veatch’s electric power generation projects in Thailand, Indonesia, and elsewhere, including the Greater Cairo Wastewater System, a massive civil engineering project undertaken in the 1980s in Egypt. Due to the quality of BVI’s achievements, Allen was most unusually, presented to and thanked by the royalty and presidency of several countries, including the King of Thailand. Allen held professional engineering credentials in several states and in several countries. Allen served on several boards of directors, including Tarkio College and Research Hospital (Kansas City). A long-standing member of Village Presbyterian Church, in retirement Allen applied his expertise with a team of three to upgrade Village Church facilities. Allen owed several small airplanes, including a Cessna 210 twin-engine and was an avid private pilot, sharing many aviation experiences with his friend and fellow engineer, Robert DeCamp. He took great pleasure logging hundreds of hours flying over the mid-West and on trips to both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to visit friends and family. Allen constructed an experimental aircraft, the Questair Venture. Allen built houses serving as his own general contractor, most notably in the late 60s in Overland Park, Kansas, Park County, Colorado and in Timber Trace community in Kansas City, Missouri in the 1980s. Allen was also a skilled wood-working craftsman, constructing furniture, toys, and musical instruments in his shops in Colorado and Kansas City. Allen is survived by his wife, Phyllis Acheson, and by his four children from his former wife, Mary Jean Acheson (nee Baird, deceased): Rebecca Sloane, London, United Kingdom, Jennifer Acheson, Atherton, California, Scott Acheson, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Jon Acheson, Baltimore, Maryland. and seven grandchildren, Nicholas, Alexander and Hannah Sloane, Sarah Ghandour, Ellie Acheson, and Gabriel and Baird Acheson. A memorial service will be held at Village Presbyterian Church, Prairie Village, KS. on Tuesday, April 3rd at 2:00 p.m. Condolences may be offered at Arrangements under the direction of Mount Moriah & Freeman Funeral Home, Kansas City, MO.


  • Memorial Service Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Allen Morrow Acheson

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March 13, 2012

My condolences to the family of Mr. Acheson. The Bible offers comfort and hope at difficult times like these. It advises us the throw all our anxieties on God in prayer and he will give us the peace of God that excels all thought.

Jack Logan

March 13, 2012

Allen was my boss for 4 years and was simply a great professional and outstanding in every respect. He always found time to also be a friend which we have been for 50+ years. I will miss him greatly. My greatest sympathy to his wonderful family

Dick Wink

March 9, 2012

I first met Allen at dinner after a tour of a new Independence, MO power plant designed by Black & Veatch. I was impressed by his enthusiasm for life and wanting to know something about me and others on the tour. When Allen later joined Black & Veatch there were numerous instances of encountering that same vibrant personality. Once, Allen asked that I help design a new house for he and then wife, Mary. The number of opinions surfacing between them suggested that it would be easier to have them look at that year's "Timber House of the Year". Thinking I had gotten out of a tough job, back came Allen saying "I bought the plans, but would you just make this room and that room bigger and put a bomb shelter under the garage!" ...I will miss Allen ...Dick Wink, Stover, MO

Marie Scheffer

March 9, 2012

As one of Bob DeCamp's children, I grew up knowing Al. These two guys shared so many memories from their years together, working at Black & Veatch, co-owning planes (including the one with "double happiness" painted in Chinese characters, representing 2 happy owners), and through projects at the Village Church. Al visited my Dad frequently during his last, handicapped years, trading jokes and swapping stories about "the good old days." Loving sympathy from all of the DeCamps to all of the Achesons.

Anne Bayless

March 9, 2012

I only knew Allen in his later years through some close friends. He and Phyllis were wonderful dinner hosts and I enjoyed their conversations, the way they smiled together, and the wonderful stories they shared. He was truly an amazing man. My sympathies to Phyllis and the family.

Vicki Denton

March 8, 2012

Allen taught me a lot during my 19 years of working as his assistant at Black & Veatch. He was a wonderful friend, teacher and mentor. I will miss him, his friendship and wise counsel that he so freely shared.


March 8, 2012

I am grateful for the life of Mr. Acheson. Thanks to his service and to the service of others in our armed forces, my family and I have been able to lead our lives in freedom and peace.

March 8, 2012

Allen was a man of many talents. Few people I have known could have built a plane in their basement and learn to play the bassoon as an adult. While in Egypt together on a project, he pointed out to me the place where he was born and talked about what BVI's work in Egypt meant to him. I thoroughly enjoyed working for him, and extend my condolences to his wife and family.