Charles DeBertram Allen M.D.

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  • "A man whose love and life touched many hearts will be..."
    - Betsy Tewane Dreves
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    - Kathleen Danforth
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Charles DeBertram Allen, M.D., CAPT., USPHS, RET., 71 KENNEBUNK – On Jan. 31, 2006, Charles DeBertram Allen of Kennebunk, died at the age of 71 at home in the care of his family after a brief struggle with kidney cancer. Allen's family roots extend back to the 17th century. His grandmother Ida (Leavitt) Allen is a descendant of Deacon John Leavitt who came from England to Hingham, Mass., in the late 1620s. The Allen ancestors settled in the Massabesic region of southern Maine and moved inland from Wells to harvest timber and do hardscrabble farming on Yeaton Hill in Alfred in the 18th century. Allen's great uncle Amos was elected Representative to the House of the US Congress at the time of the Spanish-American War. Charles' grandfather, Attorney Fred John Allen, was superintendent of Sanford public schools from 1898 to 1899, and served as president of the Maine Senate from 1908 to 1909. In 1916, Fred John gave the property on which Sanford High School sat from 1918 to 1970 to the inhabitants of the town of Sanford; and in addition, helped to found the First Parish Unitarian Church in Sanford. Charles was the son of Laurence Came and Ruth DeBertram Allen of Sanford. His parents owned and operated Allen's Motel, Chateau and Inn. He graduated from Sanford High School as valedictorian and vice president of his class in 1953. He went on to Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass., where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in 1957. In 1961, he received the Medical Doctor degree from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Dr. Allen completed a surgical internship at St. Luke's Medical Center in New York City, a junior residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a residency in General Surgery at the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Hospital in Seattle, Wash., where he also served as Chief Resident in Surgery. Dr. Allen was commissioned an officer in the USPHS and began active duty in 1963 with the Indian Health Service (IHS) as a general medical officer in Rosebud, S.D. Subsequent stations with the IHS included San Carlos, Ariz., Seattle, Wash., Anchorage, Alaska, and Oklahoma City, Okla. He retired as a Medical Director with the rank of Captain from his last station at Claremore, Okla., in 1988. During his 24 years of active duty, Dr. Allen's professional interest in the quality of care available through the IHS led him to administrative duties (in addition to his full time duties as a surgeon) that included clinical director, active chief medical officer (Oklahoma), and membership on a national IHS committee for emergency medical services. Allen's many contributions to quality of medical care in Indian Health were recognized by the Sicangu band of the Teton Lakota, the Cherokee and the Creek Nations, and by USPHS ribbon awards for isolated and hazardous duty and medals for outstanding service, meritorious service and distinguished service. Dr. Allen was an ardent supporter of Indian health issues wherever and however they arose. He served formally as a medical consultant to the health services of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Cherokee Nation. In this capacity, he appeared before the Indian Affairs Subcommittee of the Department of the Interior. An appearance on the Today Show (1973) was followed by participation in a news documentary (CBS - 60 Minutes.) In 1973, he conducted a clinic within the community of Wounded Knee during its occupation by the American Indian Movement (AIM) at the request of AIM and with the approval of the IHS and the Department of Justice. These activities played a part in his receiving a field promotion but also were controversial and made him politically suspect to some as a “radical.” During his medical career, Dr. Allen also taught Anatomy and Physiology, General Surgery, and Family Practice at the University of Washington (Seattle), Sinte Gleska College (Rosebud), University of South Dakota (Sioux Falls), and University of Oklahoma (Tulsa and Oklahoma City.) In 1988, Dr. Allen entered private surgical practice in Tulsa, OK. However, he remained interested in his “home town” of Sanford, and when the opportunity arose in 1991, he returned to York County and established a practice in general surgery at the H. D. Goodall Hospital in Sanford while living in Kennebunk. After his retirement from medical practice in 1999, Dr. Allen continued to teach Anatomy & Physiology, this time at the York County Community College, while he took art courses at the Heartwood school of art in Kennebunk. He painted a number of still life and portrait oils for friends and family. Also, one of his greatest pleasures was to act as a docent at the Laudholm National Estuarine Research Reserve in Wells, leading educational field trips for regional grade students studying ecology. Charles' family, friends of his youth, as well as colleagues from the medical community and the IHS visited and supported him during his final months. He is survived by his spouse and partner of 35 years, Jorie Farquharson Allen; and their daughter Stefanie of Kennebunk; their son, Brock Laurence, his wife Jessica and daughter Mira Grace of Medfield, Mass.; his daughters by prior marriage to Carol Duval, Leigh Woznick, husband Richard and daughters Kate and Emily of Bridgewater, N.J., Pamela and daughters Bridget, Brenna and son Michael of Morrisville, Pa., and Rebecca Brenner and husband Robert of Seminole, Fla. Charles is also survived by his sister, Marion Allen Kaufmann and her husband Axel of Newton, Mass., and their daughters Laura McGlashan and Jessica Miquel and their spouses and children, and a brother, Frank L. Allen and his wife Nadine of San Mateo, Calif. A celebration of life service, to which members of the public are invited, will be held on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Sanford Unitarian-Universalist Church. Interment of his ashes will take place in the spring on the Allen-Leavitt family plot in Evergreen Cemetery in Alfred. Arrangements are through the Carll-Heald & Black Funeral Home, 580 Main Street, Springvale. Donations rather than flowers are suggested to either of the following: Allen Family Preservation and Building Fund Sanford Unitarian Universalist Church P. O. Box 32 Sanford, Maine 04073 or Laudholm Trust Foundation P. O. Box 1007 Wells, Maine 04090 To send the family a message of condolence, please visit:

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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Feb. 1, 2006
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