This article is part of an in-depth profile on Bobby Allison, the Springfield philanthropist who, despite having donated millions to charitable causes around town, remains a mystery.


Bobby Allison’s good deeds and charitable giving are known and appreciated, but the philanthropist has revealed little about himself.

Over the years, his name has appeared occasionally in the Springfield News-Leader for reasons other than his many donations.

For many years the newspaper’s Opinion Page featured Roses & Thorns, in which readers could submit short notes of either appreciation or criticism.

Here are glimpses of Allison gleaned from the newspaper:

May 7, 2017

A ROSE: To my newspaper carrier Belinda Hickey for her great service over the years. I was especially impressed by her double wrapping the paper in heavy rain.

— Bobby Allison, Springfield

March 20, 2016

A BEAUTIFULLY BLOOMED ROSE: To Bill Rowe for his selection as a Missouri Sports legend. Hell, he’s won every other award there is, he might as well win this one too.

— Bobby Allison, Springfield

March 13, 2016

A BUSHEL OF THE SHARPEST THORNS AVAILABLE: To those who continually vandalize the Hailey Owens Memorial playground and Westport School playgrounds. My God, have you no shame?

— Bobby Allison, Springfield

Dec. 10, 2015

A ROSE: To Missouri State Athletic Director Kyle Moats, Coach “Stec” and the MSU football players for loading Help Give Hope Christmas delivery trucks.

— Bobby Allison, Springfield

Nov. 23, 2013

A ROSE: To Kyle Moats for coming to Springfield. (It ain’t easy followin’ a legend.)
A THORN: To Kary Booher for coming to Springfield.
— Bobby Allison, Springfield

(Moats was — and is — Missouri State University’s athletics director; Booher was a News-Leader sports writer at the time.)

Oct. 8, 2012

A ROSE: To Rick Grayson for his 2011 P.G.A. National Junior Golf Leader award. Rick is a tireless, unselfish, uncompensated promoter of junior golf and an inspiration to all who know and kid him.

— Bobby Allison, of Springfield

April 19, 2012

A ROSE: To Bob Belote for his selection as parks director. I have worked with Bob several times over the years and his promotion was an absolute no-brainer.

— Bobby Allison, of Springfield

Dec. 9, 2010

Allison wrote a letter nominating Doug Pitt as Springfield Humanitarian of the Year. That letter was excerpted in the paper.

“One has to understand the plight of the homeless, the hungry, the thirsty, the physically and mentally challenged, and scores of others literally around the world to appreciate the herculean work of Doug Pitt.”

— Bobby Allison, vice president of sales, Custom Protein Company

Nov. 5, 2007

A ROSE: To Tony Messenger for allowing himself to be the subject of a thorn from a reader (Nov. 1.) Now that’s objective journalism.

— Bobby Allison, Springfield

(Messenger at the time was editorial page editor at the paper.)

Aug. 6, 2006

Letter to the editor

Parks Tax/Voting yes/is no-brainer
“I hate writing letters and I hate taxes even more; however, the upcoming parks referendum is a matter so compelling I find myself writing a letter in support of a tax.”

— Bobby Allison, of Springfield

Nov. 26, 2001

Sports brief

Hole in one at Twin Oaks Country Club
Bobby Allison, Springfield, aced 165-yard No. 4 using a driver on Sunday for his first career hole-in-one.

Oct. 18, 1986

Classified ad

“WORLDS greatest employer looking for GOOD house-keeper to work all day Fridays. Washing & ironing required, lazy need not apply. Call Bobby Allison.

(One of the phone numbers listed is the number for Custom Protein, where Allison still works.)

July 16, 1977

Classified ad

“BOBBY ALLISON is looking for 3 to 5 acres of land in the area of East Mill St. or East Division. not too far out. He is stupid enough to pay a premium if he finds what he wants. If you have something like this for sale, give him a call at …

(The phone number listed is the number for Custom Protein, where Allison still works.)

Aug. 4, 1973

News story

“Springfield firefighters extinguished two fires early Saturday morning, in a house at 3650 S. Glenstone and an apartment at 2336 Bolivar Road.

“Called to the residence of Bobby Allison and John Wyrsch on Glenstone at 4:26 a.m., firemen put out a blaze in a mattress in an upstairs bed, and spent an hour at the scene.”

(Wyrsch, a longtime friend of Allison’s, declined to be interviewed for the Citizen’s profile of Allison.)

Steve Pokin

Steve Pokin writes the Pokin Around and The Answer Man columns for the Springfield Daily Citizen. He also writes about criminal justice issues. He can be reached at spokin@sgfcitizen.org. His office line is 417-837-3661. More by Steve Pokin