Obituary: Barbara Allen
Barbara Allen, of Falmouth, Maine, formerly of Montclair, passed away late in the evening of March 24, surrounded by wonderful memories and so much love from her family near and far. She was born in Salem, Mass., on Dec. 24, 1920, and grew up within sight of the ocean.
She was a self-proclaimed tomboy from her earliest days, enjoying sailing, swimming, skiing, tennis, and playing baseball with the boys if they would let her. Barbara lived a spirited life filled with family, fun, a variety of dogs, and many adventures. As a child, she traveled to Sweden, France, and Bermuda with her mother. As a teenager during the Great Depression, she helped at home with the garden and learned to can fruits and vegetables.
Barbara graduated from Abbott Academy and then Wheaton College (Mass.) in 1942, where she double-majored in art history and English. After college, she attended a year-long course at Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School in Boston. While working as a secretary in the purchasing department at Harvard, she met her future husband, Marine Lt. Richard Allen, on a blind date in August 1943. By mid-December, they were married. In spite of being told that a wartime marriage would never last, they remained together for nearly 75 years, until Richard’s death in 2018.
They first lived on the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune (N.C.) and later at Camp Pendleton (Calif.), until Richard received his orders and shipped out to the Pacific. Barbara made her way east by trading her train ticket to Chicago for a seat on a private airplane to New York City. She figured it would be safe since three Army chaplains were also onboard.
After the war, she and Richard eventually settled in Upper Montclair. There she became the quintessential “Greatest Generation” corporate executive wife. She unfailingly supported her husband, attending business dinners and entertaining when called upon to do so in addition to raising their three children. She served as a Cub Scout den mother and Girl Scout leader.
She volunteered in a variety of town programs, participated in several bridge groups, and was active at First Congregational Church in Montclair as a Sunday School teacher, missions committee member, and in other capacities. She was a cheerleader for her children in all of their varied activities and supported them always with a hug and a listening ear.
Barbara loved playing tennis: singles, doubles, and mixed doubles with her husband. She won several local tournaments and traveled with Richard to play in master’s tournaments in St. Croix and Baden Baden, Germany. They annually attended a week-long session at the John Gardner Tennis Ranch in Arizona for several years. There they met, were coached by, and played with several of the day’s top tennis pros.
Following Richard’s retirement, Barbara’s love for travel was re-energized. Together they visited wineries and went hot-air ballooning in France. They traveled to England and Japan as well as to lesser-known Caribbean islands and rode motor scooters in Bermuda. Supporting her husband’s love for film and movie posters, she accompanied him on numerous marathon movie weekends in Tarrytown, N.Y.
Each year she and Richard traveled to Canada to the family cottage in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Barbara loved the family time and becoming better acquainted with her grandchildren. She particularly enjoyed quiet evening canoe rides with her husband, children, grandchildren, and faithful beagle, BJ, up the Madawaska River to search for beaver, ducks, and the very occasional moose.
She and Richard moved to Lynden, Wash., in the early 1990s, where they lived for a number of their later years before coming back east to reside in Maine. Barbara was an avid reader and quick-witted. She particularly loved spy novels, Shakespearean plays, and anything written by author Alexander McCall Smith. She was a wonderful cook, taught her children how to make excellent pie crusts, and made the best apple pie ever. Over the years, she embroidered, did needlepoint, and knitted. She made crib blankets for her grandchildren as well as sweaters when they were little.
In her later life, Barbara was slowed down by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, which led to several broken bones, restricted mobility, and limited use of her hands. However, she never lost her optimism, love of life, or her beautiful smile. She will be remembered for her kindness, generosity, sense of gratitude, and spirit of adventure.
Barbara is survived by her three children, Robert (and spouse Dianne Frank) of Oxford, England; Nancy (and spouse, Joe Foran) of Naples, Maine, and Susan (and spouse Tim Murphy) of Tucson, Ariz. She also leaves wonderful memories to her grandchildren, Heather Foran of Portland, Maine; Padraic Foran (and spouse Megan Schleck) of Boston; Tim Foran (and spouse Viveka Ranjitsinh) of San Francisco, and Matthew Allen of Oxford, England. She also leaves one great-granddaughter in utero, expected in early May.
Much gratitude and thanks go to the floor staff who tenderly cared for Barbara and never lost their sense of humor at Falmouth-by-the-Sea (You know who you are!), to Sissy, her companion from Aging Excellence, and most especially to the team from Hospice of Southern Maine, who helped immeasurably to make her final months worth living.
Services of remembrance will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Hospice of Southern Maine, 180 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough, ME 04074, www.hospiceofsouthernmaine.org.