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ALLEN, Arthur E. 96, of Jamaica Plain, died peacefully at home on Feb. 1. Beloved husband of Rita M. (Sobieck) Allen; father of the late Richard Allen of Brookline, Mark Allen of Norman, OK, and James Allen of Jamaica Plain. Born in Boston on May 26, 1916, Arthur was the son of the late Reginald G. and Anne (Pritchett) Allen. Art had a distinguished 30-year career in the Army Air Forces which later became the U.S. Air Force. He was a navigator on B-17 bombers of the 8th Air Force flying extraordinarily dangerous missions over continental Europe from bases in England during World War II. On one mission, he and the other members of his crew had to parachute from their fatally damaged B-17. Rescued by a Belgian family, Art spent several weeks being hidden in their basement until advancing Allied soldiers recaptured their village and made it possible for him to return to his unit in England. After the end of the war, Art remained active in Cold War operations, including the epic Berlin Airlift of 1948-49. His skills as a navigator and as a diplomat led to his being assigned to aircraft transporting military and civilian dignitaries such as Maurice Tobin, Winston Churchill and General Dwight Eisenhower first around Europe, then around the world. Later he was navigator on Air Force One for General Eisenhower after Eisenhower's election as President. Other highlights of his career included heading the Air Force ROTC unit at Brown University in Providence, RI and flying a number of missions into Vietnam during the war there. Upon retirement from active duty in the grade of Lieutenant Colonel, he and his family returned to his native Boston where he led the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Quincy High School for six years. For the last 30+ years of his life, Art pursued his passions for genealogy and gardening. He was a longtime member of the Arnold Arboretum and the Holly Society of America. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Arnold Arboretum, 125 The Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 or to the Wounded Warrior Project. A funeral mass will be held on Thursday Feb. 7, 10 AM at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, 5 Linden Place, Brookline.

Published in The Boston Globe on Feb. 6, 2013
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