LFHS Mourns the loss of Social Studies Teacher and Icon, Hector Allen
OPPENHEIM – Hector James Allen, formerly of Oppenheim New York, passed away after a 90 year life dedicated to service, to his family, community and country, on Saturday evening, October 8, 2022, in St. Johnsville, New York. A husband to Shirley (Komar), father of four children, long time high school teacher and United States Army Serviceman, Hector was born in 1932, in Troy, New York, growing up in the throes of the depression. He was the only son of Dorothy Nevins Allen (Waters) and Hector Allen. Early life was promising until his father Hector Sr. contracted tuberculosis and passed away when Hector was nine years old. This became a pivotal point in his life. Early times were not easy for the Allens and Hector was drafted at age 20 to fight in Korea with the US Army Co. E, of the 9th Infantry regiment, Second Infantry Division. Hector served his country dutifully in combat and returned safely home, but never forgot his time in Korea.
Using confidence and skills he learned in the Army, Hector took advantage of the GI Bill and earned his teaching degrees from the Oneonta State Teacher’s College and Albany State Teacher’s College and what a great and respected social studies teacher he became! Among many honors, he was named New York State DAR History Teacher of the Year, in 1992. Over the course of 34 years teaching Social Studies in Little Falls Schools, he was to positively influence thousands of students. He also guided many fellow Little Falls teachers as their elected New York State Teacher’s Union President. Hector was proud to help his fellow teachers and led them through many tough times, picket lines and also coming back from the tragedy of the Little Falls High School fire.
Archeology was an avid interest of Hector. For many summers he led high school students on local expeditions to learn the methods of setting up and working on archeological sites and cataloging artifacts. The expeditions included students camping on site. He followed the Ecology Movement and guided his students on the efforts to clean up the Mohawk River.
Hector and Shirley were wed in 1956 and raised a family of four children. Life at the Allen household in Little Falls, then St. Johnsville and lastly Oppenheim was ever changing. Every season brought family activities. Summertime was planting and harvesting the large vegetable garden, camping trips across the United States to visit historical sites and campfires with friends. Wintertime favorite activities included snowmobiling trips, on the Ski Doo and Scorpion snowmobiles and cross country skiing. Hector was especially proud of his Oppenheim home and spent many an hour with a paint brush in hand. In his “spare” time, he collected antiques and quirky items he found of interest and opened a second-hand shop in the former town barn, he purchased next door. It was known by many for its large sign, the Acorn Shop. German Shepherd dogs were a favorite companion of Hector and over his lifetime he cared for several who would ride with him in his truck and spend time with him at the Acorn Shop.
Community Service was paramount to Hector. He served as the Town of Oppenheim Historian and authored Oppenheim Town history books, the Oppenheim Chronicles, Volumes 1 and 2 and Oppenheim in the War of the Rebellion, an American Civil War book. The American Civil War was of particular interest to Hector and he helped to form the Henry Galpin Civil War Roundtable group. This group of local residents was dedicated to the study of the American Civil War and Hector organized a yearly field trip to Civil War sites to further that knowledge. With his knowledge of Oppenheim and its many families, he guided many on their genealogy searches. In keeping with his military service, he annually placed memorial flags on veterans’ graves in the Town of Oppenheim. Hector also served on the Town of Oppenheim Board of Assessment and Town Planning Board.
Hector is survived by his wife of 65 years, Shirley Komar Allen; children, Mary (Merwyn) Jones, of Apalachin, New York, John Allen (Norma), of Galveston Texas, Suzanne Bladek (David), of Little Falls, New York and Celia Williams (Shaye), of Merritt Island, Florida; grandchildren, Cassandra, Stephen (Allison), Nathanial, Melissa, John Milo, Thomas, Ethan and John Christian; great- grandchildren, Elsie and Alexander; and his half-brother, Jack Waters.
Hector was predeceased by his parents, Dorothy and Hector Allen; and a half-sister, Linda Waters.
A Memorial Service to honor Hector will be held at a later date, announcements to appear in the Times Telegram newspaper, the Leader Herald and the Utica Observer Dispatch. A student of Hector’s, Kevin E. Enea has assisted the family with arrangements, along with his father Harry and Martin L. Ciaccia, of the Enea Family Funeral Home, located at 9 Center Street, in St. Johnsville, New York 13452 (518) 568-2300.
A beautiful online tribute is available by visiting www.eneafamily.com on the Internet.
Please also view and enjoy an oral history interview with Hector from 2015: https://youtu.be/JIyydlBONO8
We welcome you to share your memories to help celebrate his life in the comment section below (must be logged-in to do so).