Allison Justine Clough -- physician, artist, adventurer, educator, wife and mother -- died in a car crash in far northeastern Arizona on October 17. She was 68.
Allison “lived life on the edge,” her brother Doug said. In her early years she was an avid climber — challenging the big walls of Yosemite, frozen waterfalls and mountain crags throughout the U.S., Canada and Scotland. “She was always aware of the risks, but she was dedicated to rising above them through skill and training,” her brother said.
She served as a stunt double in David Janssen's last movie, “High Ice.” One of her stunts involved a leap from a cliff face to the skid of a hovering helicopter. She bought her first house with her pay from that movie.
She became an emergency medical technician, applying her skills to mountain rescue operations. Her training also led her into other search and rescue organizations in later years, including an appointment to the Coconino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team.
She was drawn to the rivers of the Southwest throughout her life, working over breaks during medical school as a cook for a river running company in southwestern Colorado, and more recently renewing her Utah river guide's license to better access the rivers she knew and loved.
Allison graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in theater arts and graphic design, and later attended the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She graduated from medical school magna cum laude in Denver, CO, in 1987.
She met her husband, Dan, at University Medical Center in Tucson when she was a first-year resident in Family Medicine and he worked as an emergency nurse. They were married a year later. She completed her residency and was board-certified in Family Medicine in 1990. Their daughters Brooke and Morgan, twins, were born in 1990, as well.
During residency, she helped establish a medical student-run clinic as part of the Sanctuary Movement for Central American refugees, many of them victims of rape, torture and political oppression.
After residency, as a University of Arizona employee she provided oversight for the care of the elderly in nursing homes in the Tucson area. Later she established a private medical practice in northwest Tucson. During this time, she completed a Master's in Public Health degree from the University of Arizona. Later, Dr. Clough redirected her practice to rural emergency rooms, working in Parker, Sedona, Cottonwood, Casa Grande and Winslow as a contract physician. She homeschooled the twins during one of their middle school years.
The family decided to move north to Flagstaff in 2002. She took a break from medical practice in 2005, earning a Master's in Anthropology degree from Northern Arizona University.
Apart from her medical practice, she taught Wilderness First Responder courses for NAU and offered a course for Babbitt Ranches called Cowboy First Aid that she created and co-taught with her husband. Returning to medicine in 2009 she worked as a physician and in administrative roles in Kayenta and Polacca, and finally in Red Mesa, AZ. She joined the Indian Health Service in 2012.
She was planning to retire after another year with the IHS, once again to take up the life of a painter, and to pursue her dream of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
“She was creative, dedicated, world-wise, and a positive being. She touched the lives of many, and we miss her terribly,” her sister Meredith said.
Dr. Clough is survived by her husband, Dan Weber, and their daughters, Morgan Weber (wife Angie) of Ketchikan, AK, and Brooke Weber of Port Townsend , WA; by her brother Douglas Clough (wife Linda) of Graham, WA, and sister Meredith Jacobs (husband Ken) of Cottonwood, AZ. She is also survived by cousins, nephews and nieces, and many friends.
A memorial service is planned for November 16 in Kayenta. Family and friends plan a celebration of life and private memorial service, as well, in the spring of next year.
Donations in her memory can be made to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Grand Canyon River Guides, or the High Country Humane Animal Shelter in Flagstaff.