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Thursday, May 01, 2014

Allen Raymond ‘Just Wanted to Be in Westport’

By James Lomuscio

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Allen Raymond; “When I grew up, I wanted to live in Westport.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

In November, after the road leading to the new Westport Weston Family Y was renamed Allen Raymond Lane, Allen Raymond who died today at 91, seemed thrilled, though modestly so. He also displayed his signature, self-deprecting jab at self importance.

“I’ve been very involved, gave them some money for the expansion, and they gave a party,” he laughed.

Raymond donated $500,000 to the Y to facilitate its move from the downtown to its Mahackeno campus where the first phase of the new building is nearing completion.

“I’m impressed,” he said. “It was a very nice ceremony, and it was nice of them to do it.

“So now, when I want to impress my grandchildren, I will just drive them down Allen Raymond Lane,” he added.

He leaves eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Even with his humility, seeing a road named after him and a sense of permanence in town alongside legends such as Bedford, who built the Y, seemed to exceed Raymond’s childhood dreams.

“I came here all my life,” he recalled about spending summers in a Compo Cove home his parents built in 1923.

“And I told everybody that when I grew up, I wanted to live in Westport, though we lived in Buffalo in the winter time,” he said.

Raymond not only came to live in town, but over the decades helped to transform it. Despite a demanding career as an academic publisher, he came to epitomize community service and volunteerism.

“I was very active in Westport, you know, just stuff,” he said.

His comment seemed a sincere, all be it, profound understatement coming from a man who served as moderator of the RTM, chairman of the Board of Education, moderator of Greens Farms Church, president of the Y, president of the Westport Historical Society, Town Historian, one of the founders of Earthplace called the Mid-Fairfield County Youth Museum “when we launched it,” as well as serving beyond the town’s borders as president of the Norwalk Symphony three times.

“I don’t know,” he mused about all his service. “I guess I just wanted to be in Westport.”

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Posted 05/01/14 at 03:10 PM  Permalink



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