CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. -- Richard Donald Allen was known for decades around his native Cliffside Park as an ever-smiling Korean War veteran and former school board president whose love for family and community was second to none.
"His trademark was a distinctive whistle that called his children home for dinner," longtime family friend Richard Criscione told Daily Voice following Allen's death on Friday.
He was 85.
A lifelong borough resident, Allen served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, rising to sergeant.
He was a member of the Brotherhood of the Frozen Chosin, a 17-day battle that began in November 1950 during North Korea's coldest winter in a century. Surrounded by 120,000 Chinese soldiers, some 30,000 US troops broke out, inflicting severe losses on their foes.
After returning, Allen worked for Lever Brothers in Edgewater for 35 years.
He also served at one time as president of the Cliffside Board of Education, as commander and past commander and treasurer of American Legion Post 126, as a volunter for the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Paramus and as a eucharistic minister for Sacred Heart Church in Fairview.
"I grew up one house away from the Allen family," Criscione said. "In 1964, when my father passed away suddenly, the entire Allen family was there for me and my family."
Richard Allen "always kept a watchful eye out for all the children in the neighborhood," he added. "His example of a what a parent should be cannot be overlooked."
Allen is survived by Margaret, his wife of 64 years, by three sons -- Richard, Robert and Frank -- by a sister, Judy, and by seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren .
Arrangements were being handled McCorry Brothers Funeral Home, 780 Anderson Ave., Cliffside Park, (201) 945-1220 .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.