It's a sad day in Grand Rapids, for a really nice guy has passed away. Jay Allen lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 60 years old.

Jay was an old school radio legend in Grand Rapids. He co-hosted the WKLQ morning show with the late Rick Beckett in the mid-80s, he also did air time at WCUZ and WOOD among other radio stations in the area.

The news of his passing this morning came via a Facebook page set up by his family to keep his friends notified of his progress as he was treated for cancer. He had just gone public with his battle with pancreatic cancer in August of last year.  

“I feel like I’m going in the lion’s den, going in the fire, and I need Jesus by my side and I need a miracle,” he told News 8 in a video call that afternoon. “I’m a firm believer in that I serve a miracle-working God and I don’t think he’s going to show me any different.”

He was born Jay Sweirenga in Holland in 1959. He graduated from Holland High School in 1977.

In addition to working in radio around Grand Rapids, he had just started his job as the PA announcer for the Detroit Tigers last spring. He told MLive at the time that it was his dream job.

“I wake up all the time thinking, ‘Is this real? Am I going to be sitting there at Comerica Park? Am I going to be using my voice that the good Lord gave me to expound on the greatness of the Tigers?’ So yes, I am very, very excited,” Allen told Sports Overtime in April 2019, a few days before his first game at Comerica Park.

Prior to taking the Tigers PA job, Jay was PA announcer for the now defunct Grand Rapids Hoops minor league basketball team, the Rampage Arena football team, the Berlin Auto Raceway and the West Michigan Whitecaps.

He also was the voice of the Kenowa Hills Highs School teams and was employed at Fox Ford Mazda.

He is survived by his wife Lisa, and his children. The family has a GoFundMe page set up to help defray medical costs. You can contribute here.



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