Allen L. Torrey(1923 - 2013)

AMHERST - Allen L. Torrey, 89, of Amherst, died March 7, 2013, at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke.

He was Amherst's first town manager and later served as an Amherst selectman and as treasurer/business manager of Hampshire College.

Mr. Torrey, then 31, was appointed as town manager in 1954. He served for 21 years, resigning in 1975 to become Hampshire College's treasurer and business manager, a job he held until his retirement in 1990, after which he remained active in Hampshire County community activities.

Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Sylvia Steele Torrey, of Applewood in South Amherst; three sons, David S. Torrey and his wife Katie M. Torrey of Amherst, Philip B. Torrey and wife Nancy G. Torrey of Amherst and Allen S. Torrey and wife Kate Douglas Torrey of Chapel Hill, N.C.; a granddaughter Sarah Mitrou and her husband Jeffrey Mitrou of Windham, N.H.; two grandsons, Alexis Torrey of Amherst and Nicholas Torrey and wife Abigail Dean of Carrboro, N.C.; and two great-grandchildren, Anna Mitrou of Windham and James Torrey of Carrboro.

Mr. Torrey's brother Ronald G. Torrey and sister Marjorie Thomson died previously.

Born March 18, 1923, Allen Lovell Torrey grew up in Weymouth, the youngest child of Mary Allen Torrey and Stanley Thurston Torrey.

He attended Weymouth High School and graduated from Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, Maine, in 1941. His college education at the University of Maine in Orono was interrupted by service in World War II. Returning to Orono after the war, in 1948 he became one of the first graduates of the university's public management program. He immediately began work as town manager of Lancaster, N.H., and then Camden, Maine, before coming to Amherst, which had narrowly voted in 1953 to adopt the town manager/selectman form of local government.

During World War II, Mr. Torrey enlisted in the Army Air Forces and received his pilot's wings at age 20. He accumulated 1,500 flying hours in Europe during 1944 and 1945, piloting C-47s and other cargo and transport aircraft. He was stationed in England, France, and Germany with the 326th Ferrying Squadron, Ninth Air Force, and received the Air Medal. He later served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and reached the rank of captain.

Mr. Torrey first came to Amherst in 1943 as a member of the initial cohort of the 58th College Training Detachment at Massachusetts State College, an early stage in Army flight training. Later, in his public and private life, he became deeply attached to the town, its people and its natural landscape, particularly to South Amherst, where he lived for many years. He was especially dedicated to conservation and preservation efforts, and to the town's history. Among his favorite activities was helping to put up the lights on the South Amherst Common's holiday tree.

Earlier this month, the Amherst Historical Society honored both Mr. and Mrs. Torrey with the Stephen J. Puffer, Jr., Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 1983 he was elected to the first of two terms as a member of the town select board and served as Amherst's delegate on the Hampshire County Council of Governments. Mr. Torrey was also a founder and past president of the Massachusetts League of Cities and Towns and a past regional vice-president of the International City Management Association.

He was active in numerous community activities, including the Hampshire County chapter of the American Red Cross and was a past trustee of the South Congregational Church. He was instrumental in the development of Applewood at Amherst, a retirement facility in South Amherst, and was a member of its founding board of directors. Mr. Torrey was a longtime member and past president of the Amherst Rotary Club and received Rotary's Paul Harris Fellow Award in 1986. He was a member of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce and a director of the former Amherst Savings Bank. He was also an Eagle Scout. For decades he was an active member of the Amherst Golf Club and an enthusiastic skier.

A funeral service will be held March 16, at 11 a.m. at the South Congregational Church in South Amherst. The service will be preceded at 10 a.m. by an interment ceremony, for family and friends, at the South Amherst Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the church's Driveway Fund.

Obituary and memorial register at To sign a guest book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to

Funeral Home

Douglass Funeral Home
87 North Pleasant Street Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 253-3407

Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Mar. 9, 2013