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South Florida marine stalwart loses cancer battle

Frederick "Rick" Allen, a fixture in the South Florida marine industry in a number of roles through three decades, died July 11 at the age of 60 after a battle with cancer.

“Rick contributed significantly to the growth of South Florida's marine industry, as well as to the successes of the Marine Industry Association of South Florida as its president for two terms,” Dean Travis Clarke of DTC Marine Multimedia, who counts Allen as a friend since kindergarten, told Soundings Trade Only.

“Rick had a unique gift to recognize faces and remember names,” longtime friend Tony D'Ippolito, of Magic Tilt Trailers, told Soundings Trade Only. “I have had several people comment to me that he had only met them once previously, yet he would remember their name and always stop to say hello, not only owners and managers, but everyone. He loved people. I witnessed this many times walking the aisles of boat shows with him. He acknowledged everyone with the same importance.”

Born in 1952, Allen moved with his family from Larchmont, N.Y., to Miami Beach in 1967. There Rick’s father, Skip, started Southern Boating magazine.

His love of the water was a lifelong affair, family and friends say — from childhood summers at the Larchmont Yacht Club to learning to sail to getting his first Whaler. He became a national champion boat racer in 1976 and also raced karts on the track. He was a licensed pilot, a scuba diver and an avid saltwater angler.

“In the short time Rick was with us he moved fast and enjoyed life to the fullest,” reads his obituary.

“The eldest of six children, Allen worked in the family business for many years until deciding to strike out on his own,” Clarke said.

Allen was a member of the Coral Reef Yacht Club and the Marine Industry Association of the Treasure Coast and past president and a member of the Marine Industry Association of South Florida and the South Florida Outboard Club. He produced the Stuart Boat Show, and previously the Charleston Boat Show, as president of AllSports Productions.

“Although I have known him for 40 years, the last 20 have been the years we bonded and solidified our friendship through our passions for adventure, fishing, anything that went fast and made noise, to afternoons in a beach chair in the shallows on Highborne Cay in the Exumas with a pitcher of Bloody Marys,” D'Ippolito said. “He was my partner in crime and my captain for adventure.”

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Church by the Sea in Fort Lauderdale, followed by a celebration of Allen’s life at the Lauderdale Yacht Club.

— Rich Armstrong

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