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Robert Allyn, oil company chairman, dies at 85

Robert Allyn, the chairman and driving force of Allyn Oil Company, a family-owned business for 69 years in Freeport, died Dec. 23.

The Gilgo Beach resident died after a long illness. He was 85.

"He was the most outgoing, generous and wonderful person," said his widow, Doris Allyn. "Not only with his money but with his time and thoughtfulness to others."

Born in Jamaica, Queens, Allyn graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene and moved in 1941 with his family to Freeport, where his father formed Allyn Oil Co.

Allyn began his career at Grumman Aircraft in Bethpage where he worked his way up to pre-flight inspector.

"He was so proud of his work there," said Doris Allyn of her husband of 62 years. "He used all of his technical skills to troubleshoot problems and he was very successful at it."

Allyn eventually left Grumman to work at the families' two-truck kerosene delivery business. Doris Allyn said working as a team, the couple expanded the company to include various businesses such as a heating equipment installation and service department, and sale and service of alarms and air conditioning. The company now employs 13 people.

Employees said working for Allyn was like working for family.

"He treated everybody as an equal," said Ray Petroro, who worked for Allyn for 40 years and worked his way up from helper to his current position as president. "You could go to him and he would help with money, advice or his experience. His door was always open and when you walked out you felt like you were a better person."

Carlos Rodriguez, the comptroller for the company, said Allyn was "the nicest, kindest gentleman I've ever met."

"He believed if you earn and are successful you give back," Rodriguez said. "It's very rare to meet a person like him, completely generous."

The couple also owned a printing company and a restaurant and boat chartering business in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, for 33 years.

But giving back to others was of particular importance to Allyn. In the 1960s, the couple established the Freeport Fulfillment Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization that provided a facility for senior citizens to socialize. It was eventually turned over to the Salvation Army.

"He had an ongoing commitment and respect for the Salvation Army," Doris Allyn said. "He really respected what they did."

In addition to his wife, Allyn is survived by two sisters: Doris Gunst of Land O'Lakes, Fla., and Marlene Murphy of Moodus, Conn.

Services are completed.

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