Thomas G. Allison| Visit Guest Book
Thomas G. ALLISON Prominent Seattle attorney, Thomas G. Allison, died May 26, 2012 at Swedish Hospital from complications related to esophageal cancer. Allison, whose career included serving in several high government positions in Washington, DC, was a resident of Bainbridge Island and also had a home on Cypress Island where he was instrumental in conserving Cypress as a Natural Area Preserve. Born at Camp Shoemaker Naval Hospital, CA April 7, 1946, Allison received his B.A. from the University of Kansas in 1968 and a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law in 1972. Upon graduation from the School of Law, Mr. Allison was selected to serve a one-year clerkship on the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, chaired by Sen. Warren G. Magnuson. Mr. Allison was passionate about consumer protection and played a major staff role in the committee's historic initiatives and passage of a series of strong consumer protection laws. His tireless efforts are credited in the drafting and enactment of legislation which broadened the Federal Trade Commission's powers to pursue abusive and deceptive corporate practices, such as advertising targeted at small children. The legislation was formally named the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Mr. Allison served as staff counsel to the Committee on Commerce from 1972 to 1974, transportation counsel from 1974 to 1977. His skills and leadership were recognized by Chairman Magnuson by his appointment as Chief Counsel of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation from 1977 to 1978. In 1978 he was named general counsel to the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. In 1979 he served as special counsel to newly elected Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ). In 1980, he was nominated by PresidentJimmy Carter, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as General Counsel, Department of Transportation. As transportation counsel for the Commerce Committee, Mr. Allison played a major role in the enactment of the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act (4R Act), a statute that established the basic outlines of regulatory reform in the railroad industry and provided transitional operating funds to reorganize the bankrupt northeast railroads, created Conrail, and authorized acquisition of facilities and tracks that created Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The 4R Act was the first in a series of laws that resulted in the deregulation of transportation in the United States. It was followed by the Airline Deregulation Act (1978), Staggers Rail Act (1980), and the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. Mr. Allison played a major role in the adoption of each of these statutes. As General Counsel of the Department of Transportation, Mr. Allison also served as the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Coast Guard, a role in which he took particular pride. Upon leaving the Carter Administration in 1981, Mr. Allison became a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Preston, Thorgrimson, Ellis & Holman. He subsequently moved to the firm's Seattle office, where he represented the Port of Seattle, the Republic of Nauru, Burlington Northern Railroad, the Federal Railroad Administration in connection with the transfer of the Alaska Railroad to the State, among other clients. He retired from legal practice in 2006. He also served on several non-profit boards including Therapeutic Health Services and the Municipal League of Seattle. He avidly pursued his passion for transportation adventure in cars, on yachts and ships and in airplanes, traveling far and wide around the world. Allison's interests were wide and diverse; beyond his interest in regulation in the public interest, he broadened his reach to other aspects of transportation, including the role of railroads in civic life. His interests drove him to action. In the planning for the bicentennial celebration of the Declaration of Independence, Allison took great interest and pleasure in the nationwide program to revitalize several of the grand central city train stations, treasures of American architectural history, which had been neglected and severely deteriorated. In large part because of his foresight, these stations have again become centers of civic life in revitalized cities. His fascination with 'all things that moved' led to a legendary sailing voyage from Tahiti to Hawaii and countless cross-country rail adventures. He is survived by his wife, Kimberlee Brackett and her daughter Elizabeth, his father Dr. George H. Allison and wife Joan, sisters Janet Allison, Alice (David Parker) Boytz, Laura Boytz, brothers Tony (Nancy Fisher), Nick (Nancy Fox), Michael (Chie Iida); many beloved nieces and nephews; and former wife Sharon Nelson. He was preceded in death by his mother, Nancy Hart Allison. A celebration of Allison's extraordinary life will be held on at the Rainier Club on June 22nd at 9:30 a.m. Remembrances may be made to Dr. Henry Kaplan's Research Fund at the Swedish Medical Center Foundation at 747 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122 or swedishfoundation.org.
Published in The Seattle Times on May 31, 2012