Cover photo for Gail M. Allen's Obituary
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1951 Gail 2024

Gail M. Allen

July 21, 1951 — February 29, 2024

Leominster

"The curtain closed on the life of one of the kindest, most compassionate, giving, supportive, and spunkiest people I have known," wrote a close friend of Gail M. Allen on Facebook after hearing of her passing on February 29th. It certainly captured the essence of Gail whose life was dedicated to giving and helping others


Gail managed to fit into 72 years more than most people could fit into a life ten times as long. Raised with her brother among their large extended Italian Catholic family in Fairfield, Connecticut, she grew up watching the example of her milk distributor father, who would always go out of his way to do a little extra for his customers, especially those who seemed to be struggling, financially or otherwise. Gail took to heart these lessons of her faith and her generous parents: family and community became defining features of her life.


Fresh out of college, Gail started her adult life teaching special education in the Walpole, MA elementary schools. It is there that she went on a blind date with Bob, who would capture her heart. That date led to a marriage that as of August would mark their 50th anniversary.


Gail eventually settled in north central Massachusetts, first moving to Fitchburg, where she had both of her children, and then to Leominster, where she raised them. Once there, she hit the ground running. She started volunteering at Leominster Hospital, giving tours of the hospital to school groups (her own two babies in tow), and coordinating annual fundraisers like Breakfast with Santa and the Gala Yolanda fashion show. She became president of the Hospital Guild and ultimately Chair of the overall Health Alliance Board. She kept her family involved with these events and so many others.


She started her own business, GAMA Graphics, in 1981 turning her basement into a home for two machines that looked like supercomputers to her elementary aged children. It, too, was a family affair: she and Bob would do the hard work, and the kids would get to insert disks, run paper through hot wax machines, and do a lot of playing with the homemade light table.


As technology changed, Gail changed careers to work at the Best Western Hotel. She quickly became indispensable, sharing an office with the hotel’s general manager. And like everything she did, it was a family affair: Bob did audit, and Melissa and Chris did various jobs through their teenage years.


Family also helped Gail discover her passion in life – Theater. When her children got involved in local community theater, Gail did not sit idly by. She first participated on stage but quickly found her true talent and love – in working backstage. She loved Theatre at the Mount or “TAM,” in Gardner which became a second home for her and her entire family. She stage-managed every musical at TAM from 1992 until the pandemic shut the theater in 2020. Her upbeat personality and famous pom-poms got everyone ready for each show. She and Bob became like second parents to the countless young people who grew up doing theater there and the other adults became her second family.


As her children got older, Gail was able to pursue a dream that she had had since her youth, to become a lawyer. With children in middle and high school, she went back to school. Even after she passed the bar, the lessons of her youth were her guiding principles and she always chose to work helping the most vulnerable people in her community. She became a defense attorney for indigent criminal defendants and for indigent children. She represented children involved with DCF. She represented babies born addicted to drugs. She represented elderly people and people with mental illness. With her colorful suits, sky-high heels, and brilliant smile, she made some of the worst days of her clients’ lives just a bit brighter.


Given her faith, compassion, legal expertise, and education background it was no surprise that she co-founded Catholic Leadership Partners a firm which provided searches for Catholic Dioceses around the country. In conjunction with Notre Dame University, their nationwide searches included the likes of Seattle, Houston, and NYC.


All the while, Gail continued volunteering. And she never stepped back from an opportunity to help, serving on Boards of Directors for non-profits across the area: UMass Memorial, the Boys and Girls Club, IC Federal Credit Union, and Our Father’s House, to name just a few.


In 2008, her passion for helping people took on a new meaning when she lost her beloved son Christopher to cholangiocarcinoma. While the loss was devastating, she hardly skipped a beat: the causes to which she was dedicated became her lifeline, pulling her through her unspeakable grief.


Gail passed at home on Leap Day in the presence of her husband and daughter. She is joining in heaven her parents Carmine and Venira (“Lil”) Maresco and her son, Christopher Francis Allen. She is survived by her husband Robert Allen of Leominster, her daughter Melissa Allen Celli and son-in-law Jonathan Celli and her grandsons, Oliver, Henry, and William Celli of Boston, and her brother Gary Maresco of New York City.


In lieu flowers the family asks you to consider making a donation to Theatre at The Mount’s Gail Allen Memorial Fund or UMass Memorial Health Alliance Leominster Campus.


Calling hours will be held on Sunday, March 10, 2024 from 3:00-6:00 PM at Brandon Funeral Home, 305 Wanoosnoc Road, Fitchburg, MA. A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, March 11, 2024 at 11:00 AM at St. Bernard Parish at St. Camillus De Lellis Church, 333 Mechanic Street, Fitchburg, MA with the burial to follow at St. Bernard's Cemetery, 96 Goodrich Street, Fitchburg, MA.


To leave an online condolence, please visit www.brandonfuneral.com


Kevin J. Mack, Walter C. Taylor, and Melissa A. McQuaid, Funeral Directors.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gail M. Allen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Visitation

Sunday, March 10, 2024

3:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Mass

Monday, March 11, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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