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Christopher Allen ’59

Published in Jan. 28, 1998, issue

Artist, writer, and linguist Chris Allen died of causes related to a peptic ulcer in NYC on July 1, 1996.

Chris was born in Peiping, China, to Betty Smith Allen and Stuart Allen '25, the American consul general at Chefoo. Stuart Allen died when Chris was seven, and he and his mother moved to New York and later Connecticut.

Chris attended Kent School, graduating with honors and showing himself an outstanding writer and humorist. After graduation from Princeton, Chris went to Geneva to study languages, becoming a simultaneous translator in French and Spanish. He studied painting in Paris, a pursuit interrupted by a tour as a special forces medic in the mid-1960s. He spent the following decade in seclusion, re-emerging in New York in the 1980s, where he gained repute painting restaurant murals. He resided at the Gramercy Park Hotel, teaching himself Portuguese, Italian, and Greek, all of which he spoke fluently.

Brilliant and creative, Chris eschewed material possessions and a conventional lifestyle for the freedom to pursue eclectic interests. A memorial service held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine was attended by many of his Kent School and Princeton classmates. Lacking material belongings or pretense, Chris had the greatest possession of all--the affection of his many friends.

The Class of 1959

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