Obituary: Allen Martin, 1937-2019 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Allen Martin, 1937-2019

Published June 28, 2019 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated July 5, 2019 at 12:16 p.m.

Allen Martin
  • Allen Martin

Allen Martin, age 81, died peacefully surrounded by the enduring love of his wife, Bonnie, on June 19, 2019, in Windsor, Vt., after a long, distinguished and productive life.

Allen was born in Manchester, Conn., on August 12, 1937, the eldest child of Richard Martin and Ruth Palmer Smith Martin, both of whom predeceased him.

Allen’s ancestors moved to Williamstown, Vt., in the late 18th century, at about the time that Vermont was admitted to the Union, and his great-great grandfather, also named Allen Martin, was born in Williamstown in 1798. Allen’s grandfather, also named Allen Martin, was born in Williamstown in 1875 and practiced law for many years in Essex Junction, Vt.

Allen graduated from Mount Hermon School in 1956, and he received a BA degree, cum laude, from Williams College in 1960. At Williams, Allen lettered in both football and lacrosse and was president of the College Council during his senior year.

Upon graduating from Williams, Allen received a scholarship to attend Oxford University in Oxford, England. He graduated from Oxford in 1962 with a first-class honors degree in philosophy, politics and economics. While at Oxford, Allen played on the Oxford University lacrosse team that beat Cambridge 8-4 in 1961.

After graduating from Oxford, Allen entered Harvard Law School, earning an LL.B, cum laude, in 1965. While at Harvard Law School, Allen served on the Harvard Law Review for two years and was the articles editor of the Review during his final year.

Upon graduating, Allen moved to St. Johnsbury, Vt., and began a yearlong clerkship with the Honorable Sterry R. Waterman, then a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, located in New York City.

Allen then practiced law at Foley Hoag and Eliot in Boston for several years.

Allen returned to St. Johnsbury in 1969 to join a small, two-person St. Johnsbury law firm, which eventually became DownsRachlinMartin, now the largest law firm in Vermont with more than 70 attorneys and legal professionals, with offices in Burlington, Montpelier, Brattleboro and St. Johnsbury, as well as Lebanon, N.H. Allen moved his law practice to the firm’s Burlington office in 1980 and practiced law with DownsRachlinMartin for 33 years before retiring at the end of 2002. During that time, he specialized in public utility law, mergers and acquisitions law and, eventually, health care law.

Upon his retirement, Allen moved to Six Chimneys in Orford, N.H., where he and his wife, Bonnie, shared many happy times with family and friends during his retirement years.

Allen served as vice chair of the Vermont Judicial Responsibility Board from 1978 to 1980, a position to which he was appointed by the Vermont Supreme Court. In 1978, Allen was appointed to the Vermont Board of Education by governor Richard Snelling. Allen was then elected to serve as chair of the Vermont Board of Education and served in that capacity from 1978 to 1983.

Over the years, Allen served on the boards of several Vermont corporations, including WICOR Americas, Inc., the leading manufacturer in North and South America of insulation systems for electric power transformers; IDX Systems Corporation; Mountain Cable Communications Corporation; Union Mutual Insurance Company; and New England Guaranty Corporation.

Allen also served as a trustee at Vermont Law School for four years and as a director of the Vermont Film Commission during the 1990s.

In 1991, Allen was elected chair of the Vermont Republican Party and served as chair until 1995. He also served as Vermont’s Republican Party National Committeeman from 1991 until 1996, and again from 1997 until 1999.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 40 years, Bonnie Reid Martin, of Hanover, N.H.; his son, Samuel Bates Martin, and his wife, Drayton, of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., and their children, Allen and Peter; his sister, Katherine Martin Widmer, of Somerville, Mass.; his grandson Patrick Bowe of Pelham, N.Y.; his brother-in-law, Claudio Marzollo, of Cold Spring, N.Y.; and his nephews Rick Widmer and Daniel and David Marzollo.

He was predeceased by his daughter, Elizabeth Martin Bowe, of New Rochelle, N.Y., and his sister, Jean Marzollo of Cold Spring, N.Y.

A memorial service and celebration of a life well lived will be held at the North Congregational Church in St. Johnsbury, Vt., on July 21, 2019, at 2:30 p.m., with a private burial to occur at a later date.

He was a tremendously kind, generous, smart, caring, curious and fun-loving man, and his light will live on forever in the hearts of all who loved him.

In lieu of flowers, to any so inclined, it would please Allen so very much if contributions were made to the Martin-Wilson Fellowship Fund at Williams College, in support of Williams students attending Worcester College, Oxford University, in the care of the Office of Planned Giving, 75 Park St., Williamstown, MA 02167.

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