Peter Allendorf


Peter Francis Allendorf, 77, passed away suddenly May 9 following a stroke. A retired teacher and longtime resident of Edgartown, he was tending to the flowers as caretaker of the grounds at an estate on Martha’s Vineyard at the time.

Peter was born in Walpole on July 7, 1934, and was the only child of Dr. Francis and Lois Allendorf. He spent his childhood in Walpole, graduating from Walpole High School.

He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science at the University of Vermont in 1957 and later acquired a Master’s degree in education.

Prior to starting his teaching career, Peter served two years in the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg.

He began teaching in Massachusetts and then relocated to Underhill, Vt. He taught Social Studies at the Albert D. Lawton School in Essex Junction, Vt., for 34 years until his retirement. While there he made many lasting friendships with the wonderful teachers and staff at ADL.

Following Peter’s retirement, he went on several sailing adventures to see places he had taught his students about. Memorable trips with his friends Oliver Gardner and Steve Elliott included travel to Cuba, Panama, Belize, New Zealand, Kenya, and Colombia.

After all these adventures he decided to settle down on Martha’s Vineyard, where he lived until his death.

Peter was an active community member in Underhill. He served as a selectman and was the moderator for the Chittenden East School Board. He was also a member of the Board of Civil Authority, Zoning Board, and Planning Commission for Underhill, and the Underhill Historical Society. He was a volunteer fireman for eight years. He also served in the Vermont Legislature in the early 1980s as a Democratic Representative. Peter was very proud of his work to help pass legislation that made wearing seatbelts mandatory in Vermont.

In Underhill he was also an auctioneer, realtor, Justice of the Peace, sugar-maker, gentleman farmer, and land developer. Among his real estate endeavors, Homestead Acres in Underhill, where he lived and raised his family, was one of his favorite accomplishments with business partner Wesley “Tippy” Jacobs.

In 1958 he married Clare Dyer and they had three children. He often gave Clare all the credit for raising the children he was so proud of.

He is survived by his three children: the eldest child, Laura Allendorf and her husband, Randolph Fenninger, and their sons, John and Tom Fenninger of Vienna, Virginia; his son, Grant Allendorf, and wife, Susan Spence Allendorf, of Underhill, along with their two children, Ryan and Danielle Allendorf; and his youngest daughter, Jeanne Allendorf Alexander, and her husband Peter Alexander, and their two daughters, Catherine and Elizabeth Alexander of Derby, Vermont.

His six grandchildren meant the world to him and enjoyed visiting him on the Island. He also cherished his visits to their homes.

He leaves behind the mother of his children and dear friend, Clare Dyer of Clearwater, Florida. He also leaves his companion of many years on the Vineyard, Suzanne Roman, and their Jack Russell, Rascal.

He also leaves his cousins Nancy Bloomfield from Sharon, Richard Allendorf and Mary Brown from Norwood, Mary Virginia Allendorf from Boston, and Joseph Allendorf from Kentucky.

Peter’s family would like to extend their thanks to the Boch family for being such an important part of his life on the Vineyard. He was especially fond of his chats over the years with Barbara.

The family would like to thank the staff of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital for their outstanding care of Peter over the years and their compassion through this especially difficult time.

Peter continued to educate and inspire those around him throughout his life, and he will be greatly missed. The Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Edgartown is in charge of arrangements. As per Peter’s wishes there will not be a service. The family plans a celebration of his life at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Underhill-Jericho Fire Department, P.O. Box 150, Underhill, VT 05489 or to the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, P.O. Box 654, Edgartown, MA 02539.