John D. Allen

John D. Allen, 78, a longtime resident of Keene, died on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at Sullivan County Health Care in Unity. He passed peacefully after a period of declining health.

Jack was born the son of the late Lucille (Sherwood) and Dr. Fred Allen on Aug. 31, 1939, in Columbus, Ohio. He grew up on the family’s dairy farm with his seven brothers in Durham.

He graduated from Oyster River High School in the class of 1958 and went on to the University of New Hampshire, graduating in 1963.

In 1962, Jack married his high school sweetheart, Jacqueline Hull, and together had three children.

His first job out of college with Heath Survey Consultants took them across the country and back. He then went on to head up the Soil Conservation Service in Woodsville, and later was transferred to Keene.

It had always been his dream to operate a commercial strawberry farm and in 1971 his dream came to fruition.

Saying goodbye to the Soil Conservation Service, Jack became the owner, proprietor and cultivator of Allen’s Strawberry Farms in Keene and Hudson. During those years you would be hard pressed to find a youngster or teen that had not worked on the farm.

Jack was dubbed “Strawberry King” by the Fruit Growers Association.

In 1973, at the age of 34, Jack was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The disease had its boundaries, but Jack did not let that stop him and he went on to run a successful business until 1990. At that point, surrendering to the disease, he gave up the strawberry farm. However, his reputation precedes him to this day.

Throughout his years and when time allowed Jack was always up for a good game of cribbage or poker.

Jack is survived by his two daughters, Holly J. St. Pierre of Bethlehem and Laura L. Madden of Walpole; his grandchildren, Kristen St. Pierre of Avon, Colo., Andre St. Pierre (Holly) of Nelson, Brody Madden (Cate) of Westbrook, Conn., Kurtis Madden of Walpole, Brandon Madden (Jennifer) of Charlotte, N.C., and Sara Allen of Keene; his great-grandchildren, Remy and Veda St. Pierre of Nelson; and his ex-wife, Jacqueline Hull of Littleton. Jack is also survived by his siblings, Dr. Fred Allen (Lynn) of Ashland, James Allen (Mary), of Plymouth, Samuel Allen (Anita) of Mesa, Ariz., Thomas Allen of Dover, William Allen (Gayle) of Exeter, Dr. Charles Allen (Caryn) of Lowville, N.Y., and Paul Allen (Lynn) of Northwood. In addition, he leaves a very large extended family of nieces, nephews and friends. Jack is predeceased by his son, Jeffrey J. Allen, who passed on April 6, 2018; and his son-in-law, Glenn Madden, who passed in September of 2017.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at Sullivan County Health Care for the care and support they provided over the last four years.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Sullivan County Health Care, 5 Nursing Home Drive, Claremont, N.H. 03473.

A gathering to celebrate his life will be held on Friday, Aug. 31, between the hours of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel and Crematories of Keene is in charge of arrangements (www.cheshirefamilyfh.com).