01 May 2009
BERKELEY — The campus has lost Police Officer Allen Delano Rollins, whose warmth and humor made him a memorable presence at the front desk of California Hall.
Rollins, known as "Al," lost his battle with cancer on April 11. He was 62.
Berkeley was Rollins' last and longest stop in a career that started with four years in the Air Force. By then, he'd graduated from John J. Wright Consolidated High School in his home state of Virginia. The service brought him to California, and he never left.
After serving as a police officer for the city of Richmond for 12 years, in 1992 Rollins arrived at Berkeley, where two of his sisters also are on staff. Claudia Bayless works in Information Services and Technology, Bebe Jones in the Office of the Registrar.
Rollins held various campus security posts before landing at the front door of California Hall, where he earned respect and affection guarding the busy offices of Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and other top administrators.
"Al Rollins was a great man, always ready with a quick smile and a kind word," said Nathan Brostrom, vice chancellor for administration. "He treated everyone on campus, everyone with whom he came in contact, with dignity and respect. He took his work seriously and did it well, but never took himself seriously."
Away from work, Rollins was known as an avid golfer, fisherman, and natural comedian who was active in Richmond's St. John Missionary Baptist Church. Mainly, he was a family man who gave generously of his time and energy to support, encourage, and advise the younger generation.
Rollins was preceded in death by his parents, William Tibbs and Laura Coleman Rollins. He leaves his wife, Dolores, of Suisun City; three sons, Allen Jr. of Sacramento, Aaron David of El Sobrante, and Adam Durrell of Fremont; and two grandsons. He is also survived by eight of his nine siblings: Evelyn and Mamie Montague and Melvin, William, Lewis, and Emanuel Rollins, all of Fredericksburg, Va.; Claudia Bayless of Berkeley; and Bebe Jones of San Pablo.
A memorial service was held April 21 at St. John's.
To further honor his life, friends and family are organizing an "Al's Angels" team for a Relay for Life event during the summer. The 24-hour gathering, at Fernandez Park in Pinole (where the Rollinses lived for years), will be a combination fundraising walk and luminaria ceremony, following the American Cancer Society framework. It will last from 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, until 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 16.
More information is available (and memorial donations may be made at) main.acsevents.org/goto/AlsAngels.
— Carol Ness