Douglas Allen, a longtime resident of Shell Point, Fort Myers, FL, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, November 21, 2018. A child of the Great Depression, Doug dropped out of high school to help support his family in Birch Cliff Heights (part of Toronto). In WWII he helped decipher Japanese coded messages, serving as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force under secondment to the Canadian Army. Upon his return to civilian life, he attended the University of Toronto under Canada’s version of the GI Bill. He enjoyed a distinguished career in Chemical Engineering, rising from chemical plant foreman of a new polyethylene plant between Atwood and Tuscola, Illinois to be head of the chemicals division of a major player in the oil and gas industry. His interest in developing improvements in petrochemical processes (leading to the founding of the Allen Research Center in Cincinnati) was exceeded only by his pride in mentoring younger engineers.
His love for flying and his talent for fixing practically anything endeared him to his future father-in-law Zeno Bissonnette, who had flown a biplane in France at the end of World War I. He married Zeno’s daughter Evelyn and they raised 5 children together in several locations in Illinois, Texas and Connecticut. Evelyn and Doug had many wonderful years together and retired to Florida, where he resumed an interest in sailing and canoeing – pastimes that he had enjoyed since his teenage years in Canada. Moving to Shell Point in 2000, they enjoyed a quiet lifestyle until Evelyn passed away in 2010. Doug continued to reside at Shell Point until his passing.
Doug never forgot his own path to success and always believed that education was the key – leading by example and encouraging friends and family alike to strive for academic achievement. He created and funded a scholarship for engineering at Danforth Technical School (in Canada) several years ago, which continues in his memory.
A talented amateur musician, he taught himself to play various folk percussion instruments (“spoons” and “bones”), and to play piano, a lifelong interest at which he became very accomplished. His children enjoy recordings of his piano playing, preserving at least a hint of his talent for succeeding generations to appreciate. We will miss his intelligence, his integrity and his sense of humor. No pun was off limits. Nothing can compare to the memory of his gentle chuckle and the warm grip of his hand.
His children and grandchildren (5 children, 7 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren) extend heartfelt thanks to the Shell Point Memory Care Unit, Home Health Services and Hope Hospice for their compassionate, loving, professional care and wonderful daily companionship that they provided for our Dad.
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