Dr. Graham Allan,

Dr. Graham Robert Allan, PhD

Saturday, March 21st, 1959 - Friday, May 15th, 2020
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Dr. Graham R. Allan

On May 15, 2020, Dr. Graham Robert Allan of Columbia, MD., passed peacefully at his home. He was born on March 21, 1959 in Irvine, Scotland to the late William and Louisa Mary (Woods) Allan.

From 1977-1988, Graham earned his Physics degrees, BsC and Doctorate, from Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, Scotland. He went to France and worked at Laboratories National des Champs Magnetiques Intense (High Magnetic Field Lab) in Grenoble. Graham liked to say, “I worked in France for one skiing season!”

In 1989 the University of Iowa offered Graham a position with their renowned Laser Science Center. Graham knew how to work hard, as well as play hard. He was heavily involved in the University of Iowa’s Sailing Club. To the people of Maryland, Graham would always say, “First of all - yes - there really is a University of Iowa Sailing Club. They are very skilled sailors. Graham oversaw the maintenance of all the boats, in their many fleets. They adored Graham so much they allowed him to spell “Harbourmaster”, the British way.

While in Iowa City, he met Tanya Hoegh, a music teacher in the area. They went sailing on their first date. Graham would say, “The wind across a sail works exactly like air across an airplane wing. Just imagine the airplane wing, vertical. What he got in return, from Tanya, was a blank stare. Graham was a great educator, and Tanya learned all about that, over time.

They left Iowa, destined for the Land of Enchantment, in 1994. Graham accepted a Professor of Physics position at Highlands University, in Las Vegas, New Mexico. In his spare time, Graham leapt at the chance to help coach their nationally ranked men’s Rugby team.

In 1998, NASA called. Graham began employment with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland. Specializing predominantly in nonlinear optics, semiconductor physics, remote sensing and laser characterization, he has over 100 scientific publications and three patents. Using LIDAR, some of his projects have included measuring polar ice caps, the water vapor on Mars and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Graham was an energetic and adventurous soul. Favorite activities included Sailing, Ice Boating (sailing on a frozen lake!), Skiing, Hiking, Rugby, Diving, Drawing, Aeronautics and Photography. He was “Team Photographer” for the Columbia Jazz Band, in Columbia, Maryland. Tanya is a saxophone player in the group. Graham was an active member of the Cape St. Claire Yacht Club. He raced every Wednesday and Friday night on the Magothy. When there was an opportunity to race on the Chesapeake, he and his crew would be there.

Graham is survived by his beloved wife Tanya M. Hoegh-Allan, his siblings; Douglas Allan and his wife Trisha and Ian Allan and their families of Largs, Scotland, his sister-in-law Tove Lockie and her husband Kevin of Riceville, IA. He is also survived by nieces and nephews; Scott Allan and his partner Rachel McCallum and children of Largs, Scotland, Christopher Lockie and his wife Corrine and children of Racine, WI., Kyle Lockie and his wife Sara and children of Ankeny, IA and Mariah Abel and her husband Nathan and son, of Wilcox, NE.

Graham was a perfect blend of intellect, adventure and wit.

Graham was cremated and A Celebration of his life is being planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions in Dr. Allan's name may be directed to the American Cancer Society ( or to the Columbia Jazz Band ( specify Columbia Jazz Band)

The family wishes to encourage the continued sharing of stories and memories of Graham’s life. They have given them joy during this difficult time.
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4 trees have been planted in memory of Dr. Graham Robert Allan, PhD

Dara Jones

Posted at 09:38pm
I will miss seeing Graham out on the water and miss his great sense of humor. I always looked forward to any gathering that he and Tanya were attending. Especially because Trish and I could easily talk Graham into wearing our favorite...the black leather pants and red suede boots. No one could pull that off with such style the way Graham did. I always felt comfortable even in gale force winds and rounding a mark within inches of the rail of another racer only because i knew Graham was at the helm. I feel so fortunate to have so many wonderful memories that involve one of the most amazing and humble people I've ever known. Lastly, Thank you for coaching me on how to pronounce Edin"butter" before I visited Scotland. I will miss you dearly and will always be here for Tanya.

Jay and Jackie Brown

Posted at 02:54pm
Our warmest condolences, all of our love.
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jay brown

Posted at 02:51pm
Tanya... I've been in a state of shock - I've no words adequate to express my sorrow and condolences. Graham was funny, brilliant, complex...and humble. The world lost a truly amazing person. That doesn't even cover it.
Sir Jackie Stewart, or Niki Lauda..? The question would get a smirk..and his smile.
My deepest condolences...

Jay Brown

Jacqueline Brown

Posted at 11:04pm
Tanya, I am so sorry for your loss. Graham was always willing to lend a hand. I remember a few blizzards where he would be shoveling next to anyone who needed extra help. I think once he even dug out my car so I could go to work after the plow blocked me in. I'm glad he's no longer suffering, but he will be missed. --- Jackie Brown

Bob Frantz

Posted at 09:45pm
When Graham wasn't sailing, he always had a camera in his hands. I had the joy of traveling with Graham to many beautiful places and we often ended up in each others pictures. Here are two memorable times where we found ourselves on photo adventures. Precariously perched on the summit of Zugspitze (Germany's highest peak) and seeking out particularly interesting (and photogenic) pigeons in Perujia, Italy. I cherish our friendship.

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