Franklin B. Allen ’45 died on May 27, 2011, in Scarborough, Maine.
(The following was provided by the Portland Press Herald on June 1, 2011)
SCARBOROUGH — Franklin Barton Allen, an antiques dealer and auctioneer who was also an avid mountain climber and pilot, died on Friday, May 27, 2011, after a prolonged illness. He was 89.
He was born on May 7, 1922, at his family’s home on Craigie Street in Portland, the youngest child of Neal Woodside Allen and Margaret Stevens Allen. He attended grade school in Portland and graduated in 1941 from Deering High School, where he was a hurdler and sprinter on the track team and a member of the National Honor Society.
He entered Bowdoin College in 1941 but interrupted his studies the following year to join the Army Air Corps. In mid-1944 he was assigned to the 6th Air Force in Panama, whose primary mission during World War II was maritime patrol to protect the Panama Canal from enemy attack. Allen, a pilot of the B-24 Liberator, was stationed in Panama and later the Galapagos Islands before his discharge from the military in early 1946.
On July 20, 1946, he married Mary Rita Madison, whom he had met in 1943 at a USO dance in her hometown, Syracuse, N.Y., where he took pre-flight training. The couple, who were together for 63 years, settled initially in Brunswick, where Allen resumed his studies at Bowdoin, receiving a bachelor’s degree in history in 1947. They resided for several years in Portland before moving in 1952 to 124 Mitchell Road in South Portland, where they raised their six children and would live for the next 49 years.
After college, Allen went to work for his family’s antiques and auctioneering business, F.O. Bailey Co. Inc. in Portland. He learned antiques from his father, became treasurer of the company, and in 1967 was named its president, the third generation of his family to lead the business. Over the decades, Allen conducted numerous insurance appraisals and summertime estate auctions throughout Maine and in New Hampshire for F.O. Bailey.
‘He was a very good auctioneer,’ recalled Helen Smith Hurd, who worked with Allen for 27 years. What made him special, she added, was the tenor of ‘his voice, and the fact that I don’t think he ever missed a bid.’
Even while running a business and raising his family, Allen pursued the other great passions of his life: mountain climbing and aviation. A hiker since his youth, he climbed the 100 tallest mountains in New England, as well as countless smaller peaks in New England and beyond. For several years he was president of the Maine Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club.
‘He loved hiking in the White Mountains, or wherever he was,’ said his daughter Mary. ‘If there was a mountain, or even a hill, he would hike it.’
‘Dad embodied preservation, not only historically but environmentally,’ said his daughter Nancy. ‘He took each of us hiking from a very early age and taught us the wonders of the Maine woods and mountains.’
Allen got to combine his interests in a memorable way in August 1982, when for three weeks he and his son Peter, also a pilot, flew Allen’s Cessna 150, a two-seater, on a three-week trip to Alaska. They landed and camped out at several grass and gravel airfields in the U.S. and Canada along the way to Denali National Park, where they spent a week hiking and camping. ‘It was just a wonderful experience,’ Peter said of the trip with his father.
Allen remained active well into his retirement years, and gave up flying only at the age of 76. He attended reunions of his World War II squadron and became involved in efforts seeking the return of the remains of one of his former squadron mates, who was shot down over North Korea in 1952. The remains of the pilot and his crew were returned to the U.S. in the mid-1990s.
Also during retirement, Allen harvested and sold — from the driveway of his home in South Portland — Christmas trees he had grown on family land on Douglas Hill in Sebago.
Allen was known for his calm and friendly demeanor. ‘His kind, quiet example has shaped who I am and who I aspire to be as a husband, father and friend,’ said Peter’s lifelong friend John Devine, who grew up across from the Allens.
‘One of his most important legacies to us was to enjoy the life you have, no matter what your circumstances or difficulties,’ said his daughter Katherine.
Allen, who enjoyed singing to and with his children as they grew up, was a member of the Glee Club while a student at Bowdoin. In his adult years, he volunteered with the Civil Air Patrol in Maine, belonged to the Bald Eagle Flying Club in Portland, and was a member of the Portland Rotary Club. He also conducted on-air auctions at WCBB-TV in Lewiston to benefit public television in Maine.
In addition to his wife and a son, Christopher S. Allen, he was predeceased by his parents; three brothers, Charles W. Allen, Neal W. Allen Jr., and Frederick N. Allen, two sisters, Louise Allen and Barbara Allen Atwood; and a daughter-in-law, Linda M. McRea. He is survived by three daughters, Mary E. Allen of Olney, Md., Katherine A. MacLeod and her husband, George, of East Orland, and Nancy A. Vaughn and her husband, Jeffrey, of Port Orange, Fla., two sons, Timothy J. Allen of Bangor and Peter W. Allen and his wife, Jennifer, of Cape Elizabeth; eight grandchildren, Daniel MacLeod of Brooklyn, N.Y., Molly MacLeod of Highland Park, N.J., Leah MacLeod of Portland, Connor MacLeod of East Orland, Joseph and Hannah Allen of Cape Elizabeth, and Brian and Amy Vaughn of Port Orange; and several nephews and nieces.