Remembering 50-Year Fair Havenite Annette Allen with a Smile Back

“Annette was a selfless woman who could get along with anyone.” ~ her son, Brian Allen

I must have known her, he thought, oozing mom pride. “You may remember my mom,” he said. “She was a bigger lady with glasses always walking around town … When I show you pictures of her you will recognize her.”

Annette Allen. That was her name. The name? Hmmmm … I thought as I tried to place it.

The face was what mattered most, though. The smile. He knew that. That’s why he conjured up her image for me immediately. I could almost see him smiling as he remembered his mom’s friendly face. The one that always reached for a community connection. It was a familiar face, Annette’s. When I saw it again, I knew. I remembered.

Of course, it was that nice lady who always took the time to smile and say “Hello.” I don’t think I ever even knew her name. I should have. So many others should have, too. Annette.

They should have remembered that smile full of the simplest of gifts to give — hometown love. It was the smile that always told her story.

Her story. Her journey. It was one of pride, gratitude and love of the most unornamented of things, like a walk around her Fair Haven, wheeling a good shopping cart or 30 from Acme, the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair, a thriller of an amusement ride, a little music from Bing Crosby, Barbara Streisand or Kenny Rogers, and Christmas, of course. All that sprinkled with a little purple and orange, her favorite colors, and glistening with her children, her lights.

I had heard her name. I had seen her face again in my mind. I had just heard that she was gone. I put her face, her story, her smile and wave all together in that tiny jigsaw puzzle piece that fit so perfectly in that now gaping, minuscule niche in the world … a Fair Haven. Her Fair Haven. Ours. It was all there for so long. Then it wasn’t in an instant.

Her face. Her wave. Her name. Annette. Now there was a new story to tell. The one that was behind those 50 years of smiling, waving and just plain caring. The one that too few had heard. The one that begs us to take it — her selflessness and joy in making the effort to “get along with anyone” — from here. Her goodbye that says the little things are bigger than we think. They matter. She mattered …

Annette Fiore Allen passed away peacefully at Genesis Healthcare in Eatontown on March 23. She was 75.

The devoted mother to three sons, Edward, Danny, and Brian, lived in Fair Haven for 50 years. She moved to the borough in 1972 with her husband Edward George Allen (a/k/a Ethan) and was always involved with the church. Annette was extremely proud of her three sons, all of whom were raised in Fair Haven. Annette was also involved with the Fair Haven schools, having worked at Sickles School as a librarian. Having lived next to the firehouse for 50 years, she enjoyed the Fair Haven Fireman’s Fair and all it had to offer, including rides like the Wipeout and Hurricane. Purple and orange were her favorite colors. She liked Bing Crosby, Barbara Streisand, Kenny Rogers, and anything dealing with Christmas. She was a big NY Mets fan and will be dearly missed. 

More about Annette …

Annette was born in New York, NY on March 1, 1948, and is the youngest daughter of Anna Angello and Phil Fiore. A graduate of General Douglas MacArthur High School in Levittown, NY, she spent the first 20 years or so of her life in Wantagh, NY. 

As a young mother she worked at Riverview Medical Center, and then as a parishioner/sextant at the Church of the Holy Communion for nearly 20 years. After it closed, she then became a member of the Fisk Chapel AME — both of which had strong roots tied to the Fair Haven community.

Later in life, she enjoyed traveling with the Lay organization as well as the local senior citizen group.

Annette is predeceased by: her mother, Anna Fiore; her father, Phil Fiore; and her sister, Frances Fiore

She is survived by: her three sons, Brian, Danny, and Eddie Allen; her daughter-in-law Alice Scott Allen (married to Eddie); and three grandchildren, Anna, Eric, and Matthew Allen.

A memorial service will be held at Fisk Chapel AME Church in Fair Haven on Sunday, May 21, at 3 p.m..