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Irene Bristol Allen

July 9, 1940 December 2, 2020
Irene Bristol Allen
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Obituary for Irene Bristol Allen

Irene B. Allen, 80, of Providence, died peacefully at home Dec. 2, 2020. She was the beloved wife of Tony Allen, to whom she was married 53 years. Besides her husband, she is survived by her daughter Jennifer Allen of Austin, TX, son Mark Allen and his wife Stefanie Greenfield Allen of Brookline, MA and two grandchildren, Sophie Allen and Zachary Allen and a brother Melvin Lee Bristol of Sherman, CT,
Irene was the daughter of the late Herman and Merle (Blount) Bristol, and grew up in Collinsville, CT. Educated at Northfield School, Middlebury College and Johns Hopkins University, she became a biology teacher, first as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, and then at the Brookline, MA, high school. Later, combining a lifelong interest in art with studies in computer science, she worked in computer graphics at Technical Education Research Centers (TERC) in Cambridge, MA. She also assisted her husband in founding Barrington Books, a retail bookstore. They operated the store for 22 years and expanded it several times before retiring and turning it over to a new owner.
In Irene’s last 20 years of life, she worked in her home studio creating abstract paintings to celebrate the color and energy she saw in nature. She regularly entered her work in regional exhibits, winning several awards. She was active in the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, serving on its board for many years. She also founded the bookstore at First Unitarian Church of Providence and operated it for 12 years.
Irene loved working on her ever-expanding flower garden, volunteering her computer skills for the website of the Village Common of Rhode Island, and involvement in environmental organizations, particularly the Civic Alliance for a Cooler Rhode Island (CACRI). Her last art work was a collection of posters for the Livable RI Poster Campaign, an exhibit of environmentally-friendly activities that opened at the state Health Department and then traveled through the state.
A memorial service will be held at the First Unitarian Church of Providence at a future date. In her advance directive, she requested the service be followed by a festive reception that creates a joyful celebration of life. Donations may be made in her name to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, 200 Niantic Ave., Providence, RI 02907.

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