Stanley Allison, 53; O.C. Reporter for The Times

Times Staff Writer

Alexander Stanley Allison, a longtime Los Angeles Times editor and reporter known for his human-interest features, mentoring ways and gregarious personality, has died.

Allison was found Tuesday in his Cypress condominium after failing to report for work. He is believed to have died Saturday night after a celebration of his 53rd birthday.

The cause of death has not been determined pending further tests, Joseph Luckey, supervising deputy Orange County coroner, said Wednesday.


Born Oct. 2, 1951, on Staten Island, N.Y., Allison -- raised by his mother, a nurse -- studied journalism at Florida’s Miami-Dade Community College, eventually becoming a reporter and editor at his hometown newspaper, the Staten Island Advance.

After moving to California in 1984, he worked as a copy editor at the Daily Breeze in Torrance before signing on four years later at The Times. There, in the Los Angeles newsroom, he worked as a copy and news editor, then moved to editorial hiring and development. In 1999, he moved to the Times’ Orange County office to work as editor of that edition’s community news pages and, finally, as a general-assignment news and feature writer covering coastal communities.

“Stan not only brought exuberance and great cheer to the newsroom,” said Tom Gorman, an assistant city editor who supervised Allison, “but he had a wonderful eye in the community for tales that needed to be told. He was as good as anyone I know at schmoozing his sources and making friends at every turn, yet still being hard-nosed when he needed to be.”

Among Allison’s more memorable stories -- which ran the gamut from hard news about suburban city hall scandals to delightful profiles and spice-of-life pieces -- were a 2002 feature detailing a Kansas City boy’s fulfillment of his lifelong dream of becoming a professional clown, and a story the same year about a Cypress fruit and vegetable stand that had been a fixture for nearly 40 years.

He also took a novel approach to a birthday tribute for Samantha Runnion, a young girl abducted in Stanton and found slain: It was a letter recounting the event, beginning “Dear Samantha.”

“He had a wonderful touch for getting people to talk to him,” said Jill-Marie Jones, an assistant city editor, “and for getting just the right quote.”


Allison was also a popular mentor who offered support and advice to young journalists. In addition, friends and colleagues said, he was an eternal optimist, enthusiastic raconteur and accomplished cook who loved giving barbecues and was known for his chili.

“He was just very loving, gregarious and generous,” said Claudine Allison, who was married to him for 17 years and remained a close friend.

“He had a wonderful sense of humor, and when he asked you how you were doing, he genuinely listened to the answer. I learned so much from him.”

In addition to his former wife, Allison is survived by his mother, Laura, and sister, Norma, both of Staten Island; two nieces, Laura and Norma, also of Staten Island; and a nephew, Frankie, of San Bernardino.

Funeral services are pending.