Grantham , NH. Allen Winthrop Walker died after a brief illness on June 2, 2012 at the New London Hospital at the age of 89. He was born in Newport, New Hampshire on August 14,1922, the son of Allen W. and Gladys (Durling) Walker. Allen graduated from Grantham School #7 and Towle High School in Newport, New Hampshire, class of 1940. World War II interrupted his college career at the University of New Hampshire. A lifelong learner, Allen eventually earned his undergraduate degree, often joking that he was given credit for “life experience”.
During World War II, Allen served in the United States Air Forces. He flew eight combat missions as radio operator on a B-17 Flying Fortress based at Grafton Underwood in England. For his service, he was awarded the Air Medal for Meritorious Achievement in Aerial Flight.
After the war, Allen moved to New Jersey . For many years, he worked in New York City as the manager of a book store; a career in which he could indulge his passion for learning. His was a mind that absorbed knowledge from the arcane to the significant. He never lost the ability to recall, recite, amuse and amaze those around him with his vast cache of facts.
In later years, Allen worked for the State of New Jersey’s Labor Department from which he retired in 1988.
After his retirement, Allen returned to his boyhood home in Grantham, New Hampshire. He was a beloved resident of Grantham. In return, he loved the town and its residents. He demonstrated that love in his significant contributions to the town. He held several positions within the Grantham Town Government, serving on the Planning Board, Supervisors of the Checklist, Library Trustee, and Health Officer. Allen was a founding member of the Grantham Historical Society. He served as its President for seventeen years and was President Emeritus. As a result of his work with the Historical Society, the Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire awarded him a Certificate of Achievement in 2010. That same year, the Town of Grantham Board of Selectmen dedicated their annual report to him.
Allen’s deep knowledge and peculiar wit drew people to him. On his birthdays, he hosted large summer gatherings of his many friends and relatives in his beautiful yard. It was a rite of summer to receive his handwritten invitation heralding “Allen’s Lawn Party”.
Allen’s grasp of astronomy and geography was particularly astounding. A member of the Planetary Society, Allen was convinced that life existed beyond this planet. In his last illness, he and the hospital Chaplain resumed their conversation, begun during a prior 2010 hospitalization, regarding galaxies, black holes, and other subjects beyond the ken of ordinary thinkers. He astonished his doctor, a native of Ghana, with his extensive knowledge of Ghana and Africa in general.
Allen’s other passions included politics, both local and national. An unapologetic liberal, Allen was a staunch supporter of many causes and institutions, including the ACLU, NOW, and Defenders of Wildlife. He supported local soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Allen was revered for his astute perspective on local and national political issues. His wisdom made him a natural mentor to local Democrats.
Allen survived his parents and his sister, Patricia (Walker) McCrone. He is survived by his niece, Eugenie Reed and her husband Edward Reed of Dover, New Hampshire, his nephew Martin McCrone and his wife Corinne McCrone of Durham, New Hampshire, his niece Alison McCrone and her husband Robert Baum of Natick, Massachusetts, his niece Judith Copley and her husband Cris Copley of Easton, Massachusetts, several great nieces and great nephews, cousins, and a village.
Friends may call at the Chadwick Funeral Home, 235 Main Street, New London, New Hampshire on June 18, 2012 at 11:00 A.M. A memorial service will follow at the Chadwick Funeral Home at noon on June 18, 2012. Following the service, burial with military honors will be held in the Grantham Memorial Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Grantham Historical Society or the Planetary Society.