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Terrence D. Allen

Obituary for Terrence D. Allen

April 5, 1937 - April 16, 2022
Foster City, California | Age 85


Terrence D. Allen was born in Braintree, Essex, UK, on April 5, 1937 to parents Charles R. and Gwendoline M.F. Allum (née Denny). The second son – behind Peter but before Rex and Bruce – "Terry" entered this world two short years before Europe entered the war.

The Allums were a growing family facing the privations and pressures throughout and immediately following World War II, and the marriage did not survive. (To further complicate matters, during an extended but intermittent separation – another brother, Kenneth and a sister, Jenny, were born – but given up for adoption. Yet we won't learn of this for years to come.) The 1987 John Boorman film "Hope and Glory," is as close a record of family life disrupted and dislocated by war that we have to go by.

Not only the parents split. After the break-up, Peter was "adopted" by a doting Aunt Dorothy – and Rex was raised by Charles and his new partner. Terry and Bruce remained with their mother, until she remarried an American serviceman and emigrated to the United States in 1947.

For another two years the boys lived with their mother's cousin Yvonne and continued at primary school in England. It is unknown and unlikely they saw anything of their brothers or their father. At age 12, Terry and Bruce (aged 8) joined their mother and step-father Ike Allen in the United States. The intrepid youngsters flew together as unaccompanied minors on a Pan American World Airways Clipper from London, England to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Then Halifax to New York and New York to Denver, CO and Denver to Los Angeles, CA in 1949.

When coming to the US as an adult, an accent can add a certain charm and enhance one's popularity. However, young foreigners don't like to be different and as pre-teens entering school in Los Angeles, it didn't take long for the boys to shake off any trace of their English accents and idioms and blend into life in Southern California.

The new-formed family moved around a lot, as illustrated by the fact that Terry attended Junior High in Los Angeles and High School in Long Beach. After his graduation, the Allen's moved to Monterey Park and Terry enrolled in East Los Angeles Junior College.

His parents were small business owners in L.A., and Terry worked summers in their retail stores as a teenager. He also held part-time jobs at a gas station, a shoe store, and a paper manufacturer.

It was lucky that Terry (now aged 19) had a 1956 Chevy that he earned working for his step-father as the family relocated again, settling in Anaheim 30 miles away.
He was able to continue to attend the junior college in Monterey Park. There he made many friends in the neighborhood and attended parties and dances where he met his future bride Elysabeth Galvan. Elysabeth (15) was a freshman at the Sacred Heart of Mary High School.

For the next four years, Terry commuted the sixty mile round trip to attend school or to attend dates with Elysabeth. He would spend long days courting her, escorting her to church on Sundays, and spending time with her family: mother Victoria and brother Steve.

By Spring 1959, the couple were engaged and – after Terry converted to Catholicism – they were married in April 1960. The Allen's shared a ten day honeymoon visiting the Mission system of the California coast, with notable stops in Santa Barbara, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and San Francisco.

A short six weeks after becoming man and wife, Terry was stationed at Fort Ord, Monterey, CA for six months in the Army reserve. He returned to his wife and So Cal 15 pounds heartier and under a further six years obligation in the reserves – with regular summer duties and occasional weekend meetings – but thankfully no combat.

He tried a position in a savings and loan department of a bank before settling into a sales job of water works development for Chicago Pump with responsibility for the burgeoning Los Angeles region.

The young family began to grow with the addition of daughter Julie in 1962, Wendy & David in 1964 & 1965, and ultimately Diane in October of 1969. Terry was active in the lives of his children, cheering them on whether at gymnastics, dance, soccer, baseball, tennis, or track meets.

In the autumn of 1970 the family moved to Foster City, CA where Terry took a job with Envirotech in sales for the US territory. The family settled in and after a short time with St. Gregory's (the elder girls attended school there) the family joined the local Foster City parish of St. Luke's Catholic Church.

Terry, with a beautiful tenor voice, accompanied by Elizabeth (piano, guitar) joined the Burning Bush singing choir, which would become the fulcrum of their social and spiritual lives for decades to come. He also sang with the Notre Dame Choir for ten years, and the Emmaus choir.

In the late 70s, Terry added a B.S. in Business from the University of Redlands to his growing list of accomplishments – which enhanced his career with Envirotech – selling sewage treatment plants to developing areas around the country. He also held management positions. The company was eventually purchased by Lurgi – a German corporation – and Terry continued there.

After many years at Lurgi, Terry changed jobs to Project Manager at the San Lorenzo, CA city plant known as Ora Loma. He was responsible for initiating and running their city-wide recycling programs, among other duties.

By 1993 the family expanded once again as Diane married Sheldon Perry and became stepmother to his young children, Michelle and Jason. Diane then had sons Jackson and Cooper and daughter Ryan. In the mid-nineties Terry gained a full-grown sister named Jenny, a brother-in-law called Ernie Shoobridge, and a nephew and niece, as well as their children Peter and Suzanne. In 1999, Wendy married Richard Wyckoff and in 2010 David married Thai-native Supattra Kwanyuen, known as Koi. (Tragically David died, aged 48, from glioblastoma, an aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer in 2013.) Michelle Perry had a daughter, Kyler, and Jason and his wife Kate have two sons, Jake and Josh.

In 2004, at 67, Terry retired from Ora Loma, and embarked on a new phase of life, focusing on travel, his family and grandchildren, and music and church activities.

With friends, family, and his beloved Elysabeth by his side, Terry explored Tuscany and Rome in Italy, England, France, and Spain and most especially and frequently, the Hawaiian Islands. The pair also made many trips across and throughout the US to visit far flung extended family members.

Over the years Terry had reunited with older brother Peter and his wife and children – they even moved to Long Beach for some time – but only "met" brother Rex once as Terry & Elysabeth visited the UK. His biological father, Charles Allum, had died in approximately 1977 and Terry had neither met him again or had any correspondence throughout his lifetime.

In his early 60s Terry experienced the onset of Type II diabetes. He made significant lifestyle changes when first retiring from work. He had walked daily and made changes to his diet, but the attempts to recover his health were short lived and he resorted to medication to control the disease.

As we have only lately learned, Alzheimer's has recently been named "Type III Diabetes." Personality changes and behaviors that the family had at first attributed to hearing loss eventually revealed a devastating reality: that the beloved father we had known and my mother's devoted husband was slipping away from us.

After many years with diabetes and several years diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Terry suddenly succumbed to kidney failure and passed away five days later.

Terry was a kind and considerate man in a time when those qualities can be desperately lacking. He was a loving and conscientious father and grandfather and a dutiful son and brother. He was an adoring husband to Elysabeth. We will forever miss him and hold him in our hearts.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Alzheimer's Foundation.

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977 S. El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94402
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