In Loving

Edwin Lanier Allen

July 14, 1940 – October 23, 2022

Edwin Lanier Allen, 82, of Hanover County, Glen Allen passed away peacefully on October 23, 2022.

Lanier has been reunited with his parents, Pete and Dorothy Allen; sister, Dawn Devine; wife, Cynthia Allen; and daughter, Dominique Allen. He is survived by his son, Lee Allen, daughters, Michelle Conover and Lori Allen; Lee’s wife Suzanne; grandchildren, Sean and Ryan Serell, Josh and Alex Arduini, and Henry Allen; great-grandchildren Ben and Andy Serell; brother, Jerry Allen; and sister, Charlotte Cosby.

Lanier led a very full life and passed his love of the outdoors, sports, woodworking, engineering, and science down to his children and grandchildren. In 1965 he moved his family from California to Virginia to start a new career as the Chief Perfusionist at the Medical College of Virginia. While there he was a crucial part of the heart transplant program which performed the first successful transplant in the United States. His dedication and hard work saved many lives during his tenure at MCV. Lanier was blessed with early retirement at the age of 50 after 25 years of service. He well spent the following years hunting, gardening, fishing, researching genealogy, substitute teaching, wood carving, making wooden toys, and helping with whatever needed fixing. In short, “One Ear” lived his best life and we will all miss him. “Gone Fishin.”

A memorial service will be held from 3 p.m. Friday, November 18, 2022, at Affinity Funeral Service, 2720 Enterprise Pkwy, Richmond, VA 23294. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Heart Association.

Memorial Gathering


Affinity Funeral Service

2720 Enterprise Pkwy

Richmond, VA 23294


Friday, November 18, 2022


3:00 p.m.

The family will receive friends one hour prior.

View Map & Directions




  1. Richard L. Cosby, MD October 29, 2022 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    Our beloved brother, whose loving, giving spirit added greatly to our lives, and made us better people, and through us, hopefully, influenced those in our lives to be greater citizens of this world. We honor Lanier for many reasons, not the least for his wonderful sense of humor, his industriousness, and his leadership. His college education at Chico State University did not necessarily lead to a career in academic or medical institutions, but he found his way to a burgeoning heart surgery laboratory at Stanford University where young surgery fellows were polishing their craft, and the possibility of human to human heart transplantation was being seriously worked on. He became a fixture of the animal lab studying the technique, and became so important to Dr. Lauer, one of the fellows, that when he was recruited to head the burgeoning department of Cardiac Surgery at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, he insisted that Lanier come with him. Their friendship and partnership was lifelong, and resulted in Lanier participating in some of the groundbreaking events in human heart transplantation, and his acquaintance with most of the pioneering cardiac surgeons in this important field. Lanier designed protocol fro the use of the cardio_pulmonary bypass machine making this procedure and others possible.

    He loved nature and woodworking, history and genealogy. He was a very good person to spend time with. We love him greatly.

    Charlotte and Richard Cosby, his sister and brother-in-law (who loved him like a brother)

  2. Lee Stuart November 12, 2022 at 11:56 am - Reply

    My Friend: Lanier Allen

    On my first day in 4th grade at Brentwood Elementary School I received a great gift. I met a lifelong best friend. Was I ever lucky! I found a friend who in person and later by example became important in my life in more ways that I can count. I am better for having known him and proud that he considered me his friend.

    Lanier was “Old School” long before the phrase became popular. No bells, no whistles. Backbone? He had more backbone than most men a foot taller. Thoughtfulness? How many times did he go the extra mile—and then two extra miles after that—until he finally understood something and made things just right? Effort? Oh! Oh!

    And with all the integrity, care, and dedication he was cheerful—a big smile and a sort of “heh, heh, heh” laugh/giggle, especially when he did something surprising or told a joke that only he thought was particularly uproarious. There are “Stuart” occasions when I say or do something that strikes me (only) as funny and I giggle or laugh and I look at my wife, Ann (who remembers Lanier from our student days at Chico), and say “That’s a Lanier.”

    Living near the Portland, Oregon, production facility where they are produced, people brag that a “Leatherman” is the world’s strongest and most useful hand tool. I brag, instead, about my friend, Lanier Allen: his strengths, his life-saving contributions to all of us, his example, the crucial importance of care and persistence. I’ll just keep “bragging on you,” Lanier–you old Zornk, Thank you.
    Leland “Lee” Stuart

  3. Mary Don Shumaker November 20, 2022 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    Lanier gave me my first job as a Perfusionist right out of school. He interviewed me at the old “Skull and Bones” restaurant next to MCV. We both had Sailor Sandwiches which was recommended by Lanier. The waitress brought the check and Lanier started patting his chest , his butt and sides. He said “Ahhhhh I don’t have my wallet- could you pick up lunch!” Haha! We then went to the lab at MCV where he got the money from Cynthia to pay me back. He was kind , a very hard worker and a wonderful teacher. He was always rigging up something new in the heart lung machine and welcoming all sales reps to introduce new products. A lifelong learner and great human being!

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