EMMA BOUTHILLETTE

Staff Writer

GORHAM – Mark Allen took on the role as “master of ceremonies” at a very young age.

“He loved people, loved life, loved making everybody feel comfortable and loved to have a good time,” said his sister Lynne Comtois. And he was always the one to host parties for the football team when he played in high school and, later, lobster bakes for the family.

Mr. Allen died Tuesday. He was 55.

When he was young, his sister said, he would go door-to-door in his neighborhood looking for buggy tires to make go-karts, which the children would race down the hill in their neighborhood.

“He was born trying to figure things out, how things worked. He was always taking things apart and putting things together,” his sister said, and if he couldn’t fix something or figure it out, he would be frustrated.

Mr. Allen was employed for more than 30 years by Aramark Corp. He worked as a district manager in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, and as food service director in Maine and New York.

“He was really dedicated to his work,” said his son Christopher Allen.

His job required him to work with universities including the University of Southern Maine and others in the University of Maine System, setting up food service accounts. A colleague described him as a leader and a mentor, caring about every employee as if they were family.

Out of the office, Mr. Allen enjoyed the outdoors. His sister said he was very involved in Scouting, devoting much of his life to it. His son said he also enjoyed sailing and whitewater rafting.

“He loved the water,” Comtois said.

The family took rafting trips on Maine’s Kennebec and Dead rivers, and during a trip to the Grand Canyon, said his son Jonathan Allen.

“That (the Grand Canyon) was his favorite trip of all time,” he said.

In his basement, Mr. Allen had a full workshop with all the tools he needed for woodworking.

“He loved turning bowls and building homemade bookshelves,” Christopher Allen said.

Both sons got involved with all of Mr. Allen’s hobbies. They remember going downstairs and working together on projects. They said he also was well-known for his cooking.

“He was an excellent chef by trade and hobby,” Christopher Allen said.

“He’d cook these incredible meals while talking to you and telling stories,” Comtois said.

Mr. Allen’s home was the hub for neighborhood parties and family gatherings. And when he went on a snowmobiling trip, staying at the Twin Pines Camps of the New England Outdoor Center, Mr. Allen brought along pounds of chili and stew.

At the end of the day, his sister said, he would invite everyone in the area to come and enjoy the feast.

 

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]