John Allen ’59
A beloved father, grandfather and husband, John Allen passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Wednesday, February 9, 2022. He was 86 years old. Born in Rochester, New York, to Elizabeth and Charles Allen, he grew up in a tight-knit family with three siblings, David, Anne Allen ’64 Niday and Charles. He attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education. He returned to Rochester and taught English and later French. He met his beloved wife, Shirley, at Silver Lake Church Camp in upstate New York, where they were both camp counselors. They were engaged within three months and married on June 22, 1963. They moved to Galway, New York, to start a family, and John became a French teacher at Galway Central High School. He spent his working years making a positive impact on the lives of numerous students. John led student trips to France almost every other year, and his passion for the French language and culture was undeniable. All three of his children Craig, Scott and Holly, were born in Galway and had John as their French teacher. He retired at 55 after more than 30 years of dedicated teaching. John loved to meet new people. He’d strike up a conversation anywhere he never met a stranger. However, John also enjoyed quiet times. He instilled a love of jigsaw puzzles in his children it was a family tradition to spend long winter vacation days sitting around the table working on a puzzle. He loved crossword puzzles and was an avid reader. John’s collection of National Geographic magazines filled at least one shelf of his bookshelf, and he would love sharing maps and other National Geographic goodies with his grandchildren. John loved being outdoors. He and Shirley took the children camping every summer until they were grown. He had a green thumb and could be found spending his summers tending his two gardens in Galway. John was especially fond of rosebushes and had a grapefruit tree in Arizona that produced a bountiful amount of fruit, so much that he donated most of them. John embraced the country life in Galway, choosing to raise chickens for several years, gathering sap to make into maple syrup, and growing organic vegetables before it became trendy. In 1997, after more than 30 years in Galway, John and Shirley decided to leave the cold winters of upstate New York behind, and they relocated to Tucson, Arizona. The two made the most of their retirement years. Both John and Shirley volunteered at various organizations and kept busy in the Saddlebrooke community. John and Shirley traveled all over Europe and the U.S. John loved to share slide shows of his travels to his children, grandchildren and friends. Some of his favorite slides, however, were from his time spent in Japan as a member of the U.S. Army and an English teacher. John was an avid lover of the arts. Whether performing on stage with the Galway Players and Saddlebrooke Players or singing with the Mohawk Valley Chorus and his church choir, John loved to entertain others. He enjoyed volunteering with Shirley at Proctors Theater in Schenectady, New York. The two later spent many evenings at Tucson Symphony Orchestra concerts and performances at Gaslight Theater and took the grandchildren when they were in town. Their children and grandchildren carry on their love of the arts. After the loss of his wife of more than 46 years, John found love and companionship with Pat Owen, with whom he spent more than eight years traveling around the world and U.S. and enjoying his later years in Tucson. More than anything, John was a proud husband of Shirley; father to Craig, Scott and Holly; and grandfather to Connor, Elaina, David (Garcia), Isabela (Garcia) and Seth. He surrounded each and every one of them with love. John went to as many games, meets and performances as he could, and his pride was evident every time. Although John is now reunited with his beloved wife; his earthly presence will be greatly missed. Craig, Scott and Holly are planning a spring or summer memorial for John near Galway, New York. In lieu of flowers, the family would love for you to make a donation in memory of John to either Galway Players Community Theater ( www.galwayplayers.org/donate.