Aris T. Allen, 80, a prominent Republican political figure and physician who was the first black person to run for office on a major statewide ticket in Maryland, died near Annapolis yesterday of a gunshot wound that police said apparently was self-inflicted.
Allen, who was elected in November to the House of Delegates where he had earlier served for eight years, was found dead about 5 p.m. in a rental car parked on a road near Annapolis Mall, Anne Arundel County police spokesman V. Richard Molloy said.
Molloy said one or more notes were found along with a shotgun.
The spokesman said he did not know the contents of the notes, but said that Allen "apparently . . . just recently found out he had a severe medical problem."
Allen ran for lieutenant governor in 1978 on the unsuccessful Republican ticket headed by J. Glenn Beall, who was defeated by Democrat Harry Hughes.
Allen was a self-made man who had fled his impoverished boyhood home in Texas as a teenager and, in a demonstration of the self-reliance and determination that characterized his career, supported himself while finishing high school and earning bachelor's and medical degrees.
After 10 years in Chicago, where he held several jobs that included work as a porter, car mechanic and drugstore clerk, he passed a civil service examination that brought him to Washington.
While holding down full time federal jobs as an elevator operator and guard he graduated from Dunbar High School here, then went on to Howard University for college and medical training.
After World War II, he moved to Annapolis, becoming, with his wife, Faye, among the first black physicians to practice there.
An appointment to the school board signaled his entry into public life.
In 1966 he first won election to the House, representing a constituency that was never more than 20 percent black.
During his legislative career, Allen worked for such causes as civil rights and liberalized abortion.
Allen was elected minority whip of the House of Delegates and was a former chairman of the state Republican Party. After serving as chairman of the Maryland delegation to the 1972 Republican National Convention, he was named secretary of the 1980 convention.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer said in a statement last night that the state had "lost an outstanding friend. Rarely are we blessed with a man of his caliber, a gentleman, a doctor, a man of the people."
During Allen's first years of medical practice in Annapolis, the Maryland capital was a segregated city. Only county medical society members could practice in Anne Arundel General Hospital, and the society would not admit him. In time, he became chief of staff of the hospital.
He was a former chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, and he was secretary of the 1980 Republican National Convention. END NOTES