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Robert P. Allingham

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Groton - Robert P. Allingham, 79, died peacefully on Sunday morning, May 13, 2007 at home in Groton in the company of his family.

Mr. Allingham was born on Feb. 1, 1928, in Newton, Mass., the son of Robert S. Allingham and Caroline Pierce Allingham. He attended Bowdoin College for a year before enlisting in the Navy in 1946. He served two years as a hospital corpsman at St. Alban's Hospital in Long Island, N.Y., receiving his honorable discharge in 1948. He then enrolled at Brown University where he received his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1951 and later attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he completed his course work for a doctorate in chemistry in 1957.

Mr. Allingham joined what was then known as Chas. Pfizer and Co., Inc. in 1951 as a research chemist. He remained at Pfizer, with a 3 year hiatus at MIT, for more than 40 years until his retirement in 1993 and was responsible for numerous discoveries in the food chemistry and pharmaceutical fields.

In 1952 he married his childhood friend, Mary Marshall Leonard; to all who knew them, their marriage was a model of love, companionship, adventure and mutual support for more than 55 years.

Mr. Allingham had a relentless curiosity about the world around him, and a willingness to try his hand at almost anything. He was at various times in his long life a winemaker, an information systems designer, a model boat and half-hull builder for the Mystic Seaport Watercraft Collection, a sailor, a member of the Groton Representative Town Meeting and later the Groton City Council, and a gifted singer. Throughout he was a master gardener, enjoying countless hours creating natural beauty in flowerbeds around his homes. After his retirement, Mr. Allingham and his beloved wife traveled widely, often with a close-knit group of friends who loved planning their trips together.

But Mr. Allingham's greatest and most enduring passion was his family whose accomplishments, small and large, were his pride and his joy.

Mr. Allingham was a member of the choir and the Vestry of Bishop Seabury Episcopal Church in Groton, and later St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Mystic, a member of the Board of Directors of the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut and a member of the Board of Directors of the Shenecossett Beach Club.

Mr. Allingham is survived by his wife, Mary, of Groton; three of his children, Thomas J. Allingham II and his wife Pamela of Wilmington, Del., Stephen E. Allingham of Groton and Sarah E. Wills and her husband, Cedric, also of Groton; and grandchildren, Thomas J. Allingham III and Samuel E. Allingham of Philadelphia, Pa., Henry R. S. Allingham and Lillian E. Allingham of Wilmington, Del., and Quentin E. Wills, Cody L. Wills and Zoe E. Wills, all of Groton.

His daughter, Polly C. Kellum, predeceased him in 1999.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 17, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 15 Pearl Street, Mystic.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in Mr. Allingham's memory to Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc., 255 Hempstead Street, New London, CT 06320, or to Hospice of Southeastern Connecticut, 179 Gallivan Lane, P.O. Box 902, Uncasville, CT 06382.

Byles-Groton Memorial Home, 310 Thames St. is in charge of the arrangements.

Please visit www.byles.com for directions, obituary and the family's online registry.

Published in The Day on May 15, 2007
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