Franklin Allen Jr.

[Age 90] The Baltimore lawyer was a World War II veteran who participated in the historic crossing of the Rhine in 1945.

April 21, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,sun reporter

Franklin G. Allen Jr., a retired lawyer and World War II veteran who participated in the historic Remagen Bridge crossing over the Rhine River in 1945, died Monday of myeloma at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville. The former Roland Park resident was 90.

Mr. Allen was born in Baltimore and raised in Roland Park. He was a 1934 graduate of Gilman School and earned a bachelor's degree from Amherst College in 1938.

After graduating from Yale University Law School in 1941, Mr. Allen clerked for Judge Morris A. Soper of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for six months.

Mr. Allen enlisted in the Army a few days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

"I enlisted rather than waiting to be drafted, with the understanding that I could choose my branch of service," Mr. Allen wrote in an unpublished autobiographical sketch several years ago.

"I chose the engineers, because Fort Belvoir was the basic training camp nearest Bryn Mawr College, where further effort was needed to persuade Ann Updegraff to become engaged to me," he wrote.

Mr. Allen's plans were thwarted when he was sent to the medical corps instead of the engineers, and after completing basic training he was sent to a medical detachment assigned to a barrage balloon battalion in Tennessee.

"We were married in 1942," Mrs. Allen said.

Mr. Allen served briefly in military intelligence in Baltimore, then attended officers training school. He was commissioned a second lieutenant and served in England with the Office of Strategic Services. He then transferred from the OSS to the 9th Infantry Division in time for the landing at Utah Beach on June 10, 1944.

"I remained with the Division through the campaign in Normandy, Northern France, Belgium, and the Battle of the Bulge and was present when the Remagen Bridge was seized," he wrote. "I was in my twenties and look back on the responsibilities of those days as the most serious of my life."

Mr. Allen, who was the division's assistant chief of staff and attained the rank of major, was decorated with two Bronze Stars. After being discharged in 1945, he returned to Baltimore to resume his legal career.

"It was hard finding a job in Baltimore. There was a widespread belief that the Depression would return after the war, and for a while firms expected to shrink rather than grow," Mr. Allen wrote.

After clerking briefly for Judge W. Calvin Chestnut, Mr. Allen joined Marbury, Miller and Evans in 1946, and was named a partner in 1950.

He retired in 1981 from the firm, which later became Piper and Marbury, and today is DLA Piper Rudnick.

"In my years with the firm, I handled a wide variety of litigation and other matters and avoided any degree of specialization that would have prevented that freedom of choice," Mr. Allen wrote of his legal career.

"He might have been the best all-around lawyer I've ever known. That's how good he was," said Decatur "Deke" Miller, who retired from the firm in 1994. "He was incredibly smart, and you always trusted his judgment on whatever legal matter was under consideration. He was focused on doing the right thing."

Mr. Miller said that his longtime friend and colleague derived great pleasure from practicing law.

"He was a good influence in the firm. He took the time to mentor young lawyers, and he loved helping them," he said. "He could analyze your work and invariably come up with something that was helpful. He had a great eye for key issues," Mr. Miller said.

Mr. Allen was also gifted with a great sense of humor.

"He had a wonderful sense of humor in the best sense and a delightful personality. He was able to see humor in so many things," Mr. Miller said. "He had a sparkle throughout his life that he never lost."

Mr. Allen had served as counsel and a board and executive committee member of the Savings Bank of Baltimore. He also was a member of the board of the Bryn Mawr School.

When the state legislature made Patuxent Institution independent of the state corrections department in 1961, Gov. Millard J. Tawes appointed Mr. Allen chairman of the board of the psychiatric penal institution. He held the position until 1967.

Mr. Allen was a member of the Hamilton Street Club and the Lawyers Roundtable. He enjoyed reading, walking and traveling.

Plans for a memorial service were incomplete yesterday.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, are two sons, Franklin G. Allen III of Portland, Ore., and Thomas A. Allen of Gladwyne, Pa.; a daughter, Ann Taylor Allen of Louisville, Ky.; a sister, Louise Allen Armstrong of Ruxton; and five grandchildren.

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