Tim Allen, veteran Maine news editor, dies at 70

·3 min read

Aug. 5—Tim Allen, a veteran editor at six Maine newspapers including the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, died Thursday. He was 70.

Well-known for his professionalism and sense of humor, Allen helped steer news coverage through the administrations of six governors, multiple natural disasters and countless features.

"Tim was a wonderful human, an uncommonly kind man, a really smart editor and one of the most thoughtful people I've ever worked with," said Steve Greenlee, executive editor of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. "He was our weekend city editor for years, and we never had to worry about anything when he was on duty. When Tim was at the controls, you knew everything would go smoothly."

Allen was born at Mercy Hospital in Portland on Jan. 25, 1952, and grew up in South Portland, the third of six children.

One of Allen's sisters, Mary E. Allen of Surry, Maine, said her brother was a typical child growing up in the '50s and '60s — he was a pitcher in Little League and a devoted Red Sox fan. She remembers Allen saving his money to buy a pair of cowboy boots that he loved so much he insisted on wearing them to bed.

Allen graduated from South Portland High School in 1970, went to college in Hawaii and eventually transferred to the University of Maine, graduating in 1976 summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor's degree in English. He then went to Middlebury College, where he earned a master's degree in German.

Returning to Maine, Allen began his journalism career at the American Journal in Westbrook and then worked for the Evening Express in Portland, the Lewiston Sun Journal, the Morning Sentinel in Waterville and the Bangor Daily News. Allen joined the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram in 2013, where he worked on the copy desk and was the weekend city editor.

Allen's other sister, Nancy A. Vaughn, who lives in Florida, said Allen was notoriously private with his family, so much so that the trait became a running joke.

"The joke in the family was, 'Tim, what number pencil are you using?' and he'd say, 'None of your business,' " Vaughn said.

Allen married Linda McRea in 1999. When she died eight years later, his sister Mary E. Allen said, her brother remained close with his four stepchildren, one of whom died before Allen, and seven step-grandchildren. He also continued to care for his mother-in-law, who had moved in with the couple, Allen said.

Co-workers said Allen was respected for his news acumen and well-liked for his calm demeanor and a sense of humor that was keen, but never mean.

"Tim was a serious, serious journalist, but he was extremely funny at times, and he always had this cool, calm demeanor about him. He was a gifted editor, and his news judgment was unsurpassed," Greenlee said. "More than that, though, he was an honorable, kind man who we are all really going to miss."

Steve Ericson, chief of the copy desk, said Allen is "irreplaceable, a superb employee and a true friend, and one of the best sources of information about Maine and a lot of other things that I have ever met. Although he often worked in a pressure-cooker environment, you'd never know it to watch him. He would remain calm and unperturbed no matter what he was dealing with.

"I and everyone else on the desk are going to miss him terribly," Ericson said.

Details about Allen's services are being finalized.