Jack Allen

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2009

He was the youngest of three children. His two older sisters, Louise and Winifred (seven and 14 years older respectively), both doted upon their younger brother. His father worked for an insurance company, specializing in actuarial tables.

In high school, Jack was small, but excelled at sports like track where he won a medal in the 100-yard dash in his class at the All Buffalo School Conference. When the Great Depression hit, Jack&squo;s father lost his job, and it left a lasting impression on Jack. The family moved to a smaller house on Arlington, and he sold newspapers door to door to put himself through Canisius College.

After Pearl Harbor, Jack joined the armed forces in January of 1942. During the war, on leave from training, he met Betty Heber; they later married in January, 1944. In the Pacific theater, he served first as third officer on a PT boat in the Solomon Islands and then later led the Shore Patrol at Sydney Harbor in Australia. He was discharged as a First Lieutenant, JG in January 1946, and returned home to Buffalo to start his family.

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In 1948 with the money he managed to save during the war, Jack&squo;s father-in-law helped him start a wholesale heating business selling furnaces. By the fifties, Jack was doing well enough that he bought out a major competitor, and the combined company became Case-Allen Plumbing and Heating. Jack was always looking for innovative ways to improve the business. He was the first to introduce PVC pipes to Western New York. He had a flair for promotion, and flew his best customers overseas to places like Rome, getting them to qualify for the trip by paying their invoices on time. And he was the first president of the Buffalo Executive Association (BEA), crediting key members of the local business community with helping him establish some of his early success.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and boats. He often took customers on trips to Canada to hunt ducks in the fall and fish for northern Pike in the spring.&bsp; Early on, the family took vacations on the first of three boats he owned. He was an avid tennis player, and also enjoyed restoring old cars. He was proud of his 1922 Ford roadster, and a 1929 Stutz Blackhawk. In whatever house he lived, Jack always had a garden, and he took particular pleasure in growing tomatoes.

Jack sold his business in 1971 and retired to Tryon. He got involved with community endeavors that weren&squo;t work related: he became a church elder at Tryon Presbyterian Church; he helped found Hospice of Polk County (now Hospice of the Carolina Foothills) and helped establish the Republican Party of Polk County, including buying the headquarters building. He and Betty developed a network of friends around various social activities and they traveled widely throughout the country and world.

When Betty passed away in 2007, they had been married for 63 years. Jack lived on in a retirement center in Cary, N.C., until he died this year on Saturday, July 11, 6 weeks after turning 95. He is survived by his three sons: John, Joe, and Jim (and daughter-in-law Kay).

If you would like to honor Jack&squo;s life, you can send a contribution to Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, 130 Forest Glen Drive, Columbus, N.C. 28722. Please make it to the attention of the executive director, Jean Eckert. (or make a contribution to the charity of your choice).