On November 28, 2020, Richard Harrison Allen passed away after bringing joy to those around him for 84 years. Known to many as "Torch" for his fiery red hair and quick-witted humor, he held affinities for ruthless victories of the game Sorry!, Dixieland Jazz, piano duets, back scratches, and pranking anyone who could be fooled.
Torch was born in Chicago, IL on June 7,1936, to Charles and Edna (Mower) Allen and grew up in Lloyd Harbor, NY. He graduated from Denison University and enjoyed the brotherhood of Lambda Chi Alpha. Following college, he joined the Army and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, where he worked in intelligence. A passion for flight born from his father's career as a captain for American Airlines, called him to earn his private pilot's license. Before marrying the love of his life, he exercised bachelorhood by jokingly dropping his laundry from planes onto his parent's lawn in New Hampshire!
His successful career with American Airlines included management of LGA/JFK Passenger Service, developing their South Pacific Operations, and overseeing Flight and Freight Services in the Northeast. He left American to become a regional Vice President of Continental Airlines. In retirement, he loved the camaraderie of the Senior Men's Club, the nurturing community of the Congregational Church of New Canaan, and playing poker with longtime friends.
He lived an inspiring life following a stroke in 1996 that impacted his speech. Despite this, he continued to forge sincere connections that made one feel seen and special. The words he used most are those that serve now as lessons: love, beautiful day, thank you, and WOW! He contributed to a vibrant community at the Nathaniel Witherell Nursing Home in Greenwich, CT where he maintained a front row presence at music programs since joining in 2012.
He will ultimately be remembered for his ability to share joy, connect through laughter, and make all feel loved in his presence.
He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Linda (Merritt), and their two children; Elizabeth (Matthew) Spinner and Charles Parker (Dencie) Allen; his sister Winnie (Leo) Denis and brother John (Lora) Allen; his grandchildren Caleb and Merritt Spinner, and many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins. His family and friends meant everything to him.
A celebration of his life will be scheduled whenever family and friends can safely gather. Memorials may be sent to The Friends of Nathaniel Witherell.
Published in New Canaan Advertiser on Dec. 19, 2020.