Dorothy H. Allen, 94, ran detective agency

February 20, 2005|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

Dorothy H. Allen, co-founder of a uniformed security and private investigation agency, died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia and infection at St. Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta. She was 94 and formerly lived in Towson.

She was born Dorothy Hoppman in Newark, N.J., and at age 6 was placed in a children's home when her father's death forced her mother to work full time.

She stayed at the Episcopal Church-sponsored home until age 15, and then went to live in an apartment with her mother and stepfather in New York City. While working as a typist in Manhattan, where she had taken night classes and earned a high school diploma, she met her husband, Foy R. Allen, who was a manager at a finance corporation.

They wed in New York in 1941 and were married for 62 years.

During World War II, Mr. Allen served in the Navy as an intelligence investigator and later did investigative work for private companies.

The Allens moved to Baltimore in 1948, when Mr. Allen's job with the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, sometimes called the FBI of racing, brought him to Maryland to manage racetrack security and conduct investigations.

In 1957, the couple founded the Master Detective Agency of Baltimore --renamed Master Security Inc. in 1975 -- a company that offered uniformed guard services and private investigations.

Mrs. Allen was vice president of the business and became licensed to conduct private investigations in Maryland. The Allens owned and operated the company, which guarded government facilities, hospitals, schools and other buildings, until they retired in 1989.

She raised three children and was an avid gardener, pianist and ballroom dancer. Mrs. Allen also was a member of the Baltimore Country Club and played sports, including golf, bowling and tennis.

After residing in the Baltimore area for 55 years, she moved to Alpharetta, Ga., upon the death of her husband in 2003. Mrs. Allen lived there with her daughter, Deborah Allen Holcomb.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Church of the Nativity, 20 E. Ridgely Road, Lutherville.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include another daughter, Cynthia Allen of Towson; a son, David R. Allen of Freeland; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. A daughter, Maeve Allen, died shortly after birth in 1956.

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