Allan Brian Korsakov
Allan passed away May 13, 2019 at the too-young age of 76. He is already missed beyond words by his wife, Margey Meyer, and their daughter, Elissa Korsakov. Born in Springfield, Massachusetts to Solly and Rose Korsakov, Allan and his older brother, Richard, spent their formative years traveling for his dad’s various jobs. He finally settled in Memphis to attend Rhodes College, graduating with a degree in Psychology and German, including an additional year of undergraduate study at Phillips University in Marburg, Germany. He then attained a Master’s in Psychology in Memphis State University and thought he would save juvenile delinquents in the Louisiana prison system. After disagreeing too frequently with his bosses about best practices, Allan decided to pursue a different career and achieved an MBA with an accounting specialty from Louisiana Tech University, then passed the CPA exam. Allan moved to Houston in 1972 at the enticement of Arthur Anderson & Company, then was lured away in 1977 by one of his audit clients, C & K Petroleum, to become their Controller and CFO of one of their subsidiaries. Allan subsequently served as Controller for Latina Oil, Vice President and Corporate Controller for Southdown, and Regional Controller for Baker Concrete Construction – Houston, from which he retired in 2012. He thoroughly enjoyed retirement!
Allan loved telling funny stories, traveling, art, music, reading biographies, debating politics and eating out. Most of all, he loved his wife and daughter. The funeral will take place on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 2:00 pm at Beth Yeshurun Cemetery Post Oak, 1037 N. Post Oak Rd. (entrance on Awty School Lane). In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to www.HoustonHolocaustMuseum.org, to https://www.houstonmethodist.org/giving/ attention Dr. Gustavo Roman for research on Primary Progressive Aphasia, or to a charity of your choice, in Allan’s memory.
Elissa’s Poem for her Dad
I wish you were here to help me
Write this memory song
We’d turn it to nonsense
Definitely before too long
“The time has come the walrus said
To talk of many things:”
Of fact and fiction and what lies in between
Of love and fun and what life really means
Whether clouds indeed are soft and fluffy
And agreeable to dream
When the moon takes the crescent
The cat will be no more
It will be you instead resplendent
My Husband Allan
Allan was a wonderful husband, best friend and life partner who helped balance my world; who wasn’t perfect but was perfect for me; who worked hard and would do anything for me; who made me laugh and drove me crazy; who was my best friend and the only person I wanted to grow old with. Who was my rock. It’s impossible to describe Allan in just a few words. Here’s a short list: funny, eclectic, compassionate, kind, creative, imaginative, silly, funny, wise, smart, intellectual, inquisitive, funny, clever, devoted, loyal, ethical, pragmatic, moral, funny, loving, good-looking, strong, brave, funny, independent. Did I mention funny? And, okay, sometimes he could be just a bit sarcastic and obstinate.
I met Allan in 1979 when I was a community association manager and he had recently purchased a condo in one of the properties I managed. It was at the turnover meeting, when the hated developer turned over control of the association to the owners. We held the elections and then the developers walked out, leaving me to face an angry horde. Amidst the swarming throng emerged a smiling face and GORGEOUS blue eyes of a young man who dropped a business card in my lap. Geez, I thought, I had hoped he was going to defend me. On the back of the card, though, he had written “You’ve got a lot of guts. Good luck.” Allan and I have debated for the next 41 years over the next memory – I say he called me the next day to ask me out, and he says I called him. Whatever really happened, one date was all it took to know he was someone special. Of course, it took him another five years to propose, and only then because I was about to buy a new set of dishes. And he did it in typical Allan style – down on his knee at the original Rainbow Lodge, with a photo of a diamond because he didn’t want to lose the real one and wanted me to pick out the setting to be sure it was something I liked. And even though we found out the day we left for Daytona Beach to get married that I had cancer and would have surgery right after we returned from our honeymoon that would preclude my ability to have children, he didn’t blink an eye or hesitate for a minute. He’s always been there for me. My rock. I have so many wonderful memories of our 41 years together:
1. His stories about his rather checkered youth, especially the one when he would put an extra hole in payment punch cards that would force the computer to reject it and require manual entry.
2. Speaking of being a consummate joker, Allan wins the prize for achieving his final joke on this earth, confounding the medical profession by surviving almost 14 days in hospice. I can see him laughing now, with his blue eyes sparkling. Guinness Book of World Records, perhaps?
3. Allan did great imitations of a pigeon and a snake. No matter how many times he did them, he made me laugh.
4. Allan loved to say he was a “soft spoken, mild-mannered, easy-going, middle class, middle management silver-tongued devil at the apogee of his mediocre career.” “Silver-tongued devil” may be the only thing true in that description.
5. It was my first Thanksgiving with Allan and his parents were coming from Florida to visit. I was expected to cook dinner! I read so many cookbooks and newspaper articles about how to cook a turkey, and it came out of the oven picture-perfect. Unfortunately, when I tried to carve it, it was rock hard. I was in tears. Allan looked at the turkey, front, back and sideways, then picked it up and turned it over. The meat was incredibly moist because I had cooked it upside down.
6. We moved into Allan’s Holly View house after we were married in 1984. It was a tract home but Allan had customized it a bit during construction. He allowed me to decorate only the half bath. That was the only room that wasn’t in tones of brown. When I moved in, we decided to get drapes for the living room – Allan had only gone as far as sheers. We looked at several places but couldn’t decide on anything, so hired a decorator to help. We went through 5 or 6 of her books but still couldn’t decide. In desperation or maybe disgust, she suggested a final option. I thought Allan liked it; he thought I liked it. It wasn’t until many years later that we found out each other hated those ugly drapes.
7. Lissa and I were on a European cruise when I received an email that a charge exceeding $10,000 has just been made to my MasterCard account. In a panic, I called MasterCard and told them it was a fraudulent charge. I then called Allan to warn him and boy was he upset, but for a different reason. Seems that since I leave my good jewelry behind when I travel, Allan thought it would be a good time to upgrade the diamond in my engagement ring and had put down a deposit on the stone. I had trained him well to put all large purchases on our joint
MasterCard to optimize United miles. He had no idea I would receive an alert. It took him more than 24 hours to persuade MasterCard that the charge was legitimate. And I had ruined his surprise. The diamond, however, was beautiful.
8. Speaking of travel, Allan and I were so fortunate to be able to travel to many exotic and beautiful places – Italy, Germany, France, Monaco, England, Switzerland, Belgium, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Israel, and many of those wonderful places more than once or twice. I remember Allan floating in the Dead Sea with his silly, happy grin, covered in black icky mud. Then there was the time he was trying to follow my driving navigation in Zurich and not understanding why we kept winding up in dead ends until I realized I was reading a walking map. And how about the time we ended taking five different trains to get from Cinque Terre in Italy to Arles in France, a distance of about 300 miles, because I found out that it would cost $2000 to rent a car to go across borders. Sometimes my plans didn’t quite work as expected, but Allan would just give me an extra hug and move on.
9. Last year, Allan and I joined my cousin Judy and her husband, Eric, on a nine- day glorious drive from San Francisco to Seattle. What fun we had exploring nature’s beauty and little towns! Allan’s favorite, though, was riding a dune buggy helmed by a crazy driver over the Oregon dunes. I sure wish I could have captured a photo of him and his huge grin, hanging on for dear life, but I had no doubt the camera would have flown out of my hands as we caught the wind on another aerial dive.
10.Allan was an ardent democrat. He would rail at the TV when he disagreed with the talking head. He canvassed for miles for Wendy Davis. He REALLY loathed Trump and Cruz and I hope he’ll know when they’re defeated.
11.A member of Congregation Or Ami in Houston, Allan was passionate about Israel and his Jewish faith, contributing to many related entities for decades. We had such a great time exploring Israel in 2014!
12.Allan loved a good German Riesling Kabinett from the Mosel valley. In fact, we found a Riesling we liked so much on an Oceania cruise that we ended up driving 5 1⁄2 hours to Texarkana, Arkansas to buy a case since it couldn’t be imported to Texas.
13.Allan loved his Mini Coopers – both of them. He was very proud to have one of the first Minis in Texas, and he earned that distinction by driving to Louisiana to order and pick it up since there was not yet a dealership in Texas.
14.Allan loved his pets, from my poodle Calley to his big fat mean cat Sebastian who would race him to the tub every night if he came home late. If the cat won, he pooped in the tub. If Allan won, he would fill the tub with water and the cat was very unhappy. Allan cared for a succession of wonderful animals – the sweetest dog ever, Rascal; the craziest Airedale ever, Hoover; the noisy kitty, Snowball and our current sibling kitties, Tiger and Lily. Lily absolutely loved sitting on Allan’s lap and chewing on his beard, or sometimes just content staring
into his eyes. Yes, that was a little weird.
15.Allan loved to sail on ships without motors. When I first met him, he was planning to join a crew to sail a Tall Ship into New York City harbor and I agreed to care for Sebastian, figuring the best way to a man’s heart is through his cat. Only partially true. Allan returned with his beard and a sunburn and boy did he look good! Incidentally, when we were agonizing over the name we should give our beautiful little baby (Allan’s favorite was Maxine after his Uncle Max- ugh), we finally realized that Elissa was perfect – named after the Tall Ship in Galveston
and my Uncle Elias.
16.Allan loved art and we were fortunate to see Chagall and Picasso in Nice, van Gogh in Amsterdam, everyone at the Louvre in Paris and at the Prado and Reina Sofia in Madrid, and Degas, among many others, in our own Museum of Fine Arts. He loved music and what an eclectic repertoire he had, from Carl Perkins to Bach, from Kirk Whalum to Handel and Vivaldi, from Elvis to The Eagles.
17.Most of all, Allan loved Lissa. From the moment she was born and placed in our arms, he was hooked. He didn’t always express his love adequately, but he boasted about her at every opportunity and was beyond ecstatic when she achieved her Master’s and passed the state licensing exam. He hurt when she hurt, felt joy when she felt joy, and had an extremely difficult time “detaching with love.” Allan was incredibly brave and stoic when diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia by Houston Methodist Hospital’s wonderful, compassionate and determined Dr. Gustavo Roman. Previous doctors offered other misdiagnoses, but it really didn’t make a difference.
There’s no happy ending yet to any of these types of terrible, devastating brain diseases. Symptoms started showing in 2012, but Allan had deteriorated so rabidly in the past few months that he was ready to hang it up. He kind of enjoyed participating at the Houston Aphasia Recovery Center, and speech therapy with TIRR Memorial City’s Melanie, but it wasn’t enough. Those of you who know Allan know what a proud, articulate, smart, independent cuss he was, and he hated what was happening to him. After two weeks at Houston Methodist Hospital, I hope his last few weeks at Houston Hospice finally brought him peace.
I could go on and on about Allan, but there just isn’t enough time or space to describe this extraordinary person. I’m thinking most of you have your own wonderful memories of him, probably involving something funny. Keep those memories. Remember him. He was really a special person.
As for me, I was feeling sorry for myself, thinking about the future Allan and I could have had. But then I started thinking about our 41 years together and what great adventures, laughs, cries and everything in between we experienced. Life was good to us and I feel so fortunate to have shared mine with Allan.
From Allan’s Boston cousins:
We have all been thinking about you and Allan and Lissa all week. It’s still so hard to believethis is happening. Each of us wrote down a few thoughts, and gathered some pictures. We don’t know if it’s possible to share our thoughts and pictures with Allan, but we certainly want to share them with you and Lissa. If it’s appropriate, maybe someone would like to read our words at whatever service is held for Allan. Apologies in advance for the formatting of this email! The pictures need formatting too! First from Ellie: I am so happy that Allan (and you) were able to join us for Matthew and Dana’s wedding weekend a year ago. I always felt so connected to Allan through our shared name origins. We were named after our Paternal Grandmother, Bertha, who’s hebrew name was Elke Bryna (not sure of the spelling!) who passed away when the Korsakov children were quite young. I’m not sure how old Uncle Solly was, but our Dad Lenny was only 11 at the time. I love his gorgeous blue eyes and that he was always a kind and gentle soul who still knew how to throw a punch and nail a punchline.
Not sure why it always felt like a special treat when Family came to visit, because as far back as I can remember, The Korsakov Home on 86 Drumlin was constantly filled with our extended fun loving family. But always special. Always filled with laughter, love, food and stories. We were (and are) so lucky that even though we were way up in the New England, family came to visit from all over. Don’t tell, but some were more cool than others – ssshhhh! And one of the coolest, from my perspective were more cool than others – ssshhhh! And one of the coolest from my perspective of the youngest Korsakov grandchild, was Allan with his sparkling blue eyes and equally sparkling smile. Why do I recall a smooth “Yeehaw” in the pages of my memory? If I really stretched my childhood imagination, it’s quite possible he rode into Logan on a horse! I was a little squirt kid, but guess who was just as much a kid as me?? Allan. My favorite memory is of a massive pillow fight…instigated, of course, by my “big southern cousin.” For some reason, Aunt Rose and Uncle Solly and my Mom and Dad carried on nonchalantly with their lunch while we were running all through the house squawking away whipping each other with pillows. Funny how we felt so close even though we probably only saw each other once a year. Mmm. So genuine. So precious. I will forever have enormous gratitude for our remarkable family. So happy that Allan and his “new” family are a special part of mine. With Love and tenderness, Jill xoxoxo
I have such great memories of Allan from my childhood. We didn’t see him very often because he lived far away, but every visit was special. He was the first person I remember with a Southern accent, and I absolutely loved it! One of our favorite things to do when we were kids was to go to the airport with our Dad to pick up whichever relative was coming to visit. I remember meeting Allan at the gate (we could do that back then) and he would come sauntering up the walkway with a big grin on his face. His first word was always “howdy”! And then of course my sisters and I would jump all over him! When we got to our house, he would always have stories about wherever he’d been. And then he would do imitations! The best one was he could walk like a pigeon! He made the pigeon sound at the same time! I have no idea why or how he learned to do that, but we would all get absolutely hysterical. As adults we didn’t see each other very often, but every visit was special. We connected again in a special way when Margey came into the picture, and we had children very close in age to
each other. He’s such a nice, warm person. I love him and miss him very much. Love you too, Margey, and Lissa too! Xoxoxo