“...a lively curiosity, a moral sense, and an esthetic sensibility can provide a handle on life, a means to obtain a stable perspective on how to proceed through our allotted time.” — Allen Henry Agnitti
Allen died peacefully on March 10, 2020 following a sudden and aggressive illness and having lived a life according to those tenants he had set out in "With a Thousand Antennas".
Born on December 14, 1951 in Worcester MA to Ann (Landry) and Henry “Rico” Agnitti, Allen grew up in Clinton MA. He graduated from St. John’s High School 1969, Bates College 1972 and attended the Sorbonne to study French. Allen continued his education graduating from the University of Sussex, 1980 with a Master’s degree in Intellectual History, and then Northeastern University School of Law, 1990.
Allen had a constant thirst for knowledge, and found unending joy in teaching others and as a student himself. While in college he studied Julian the Apostate and Ernest Renan, whose work later provided fuel for Allen’s memoir and philosophical study "With a Thousand Antennas", as well as other published works in various magazines. He was trilingual speaking French, Italian and English.
He taught history at Cathedral High School in Manhattan, Bronx Community College; and several colleges in the Springfield, MA area, with his longest position as an adjunct professor at American International College.
As an attorney, Allen dedicated much of his life to advocating for people from all walks of life. Working for the Legal Aid Society in the Bronx, as court appointed attorney and court investigator with Hampden Juvenile Court and for twenty-three years as a research attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. This position afforded him the opportunity to work from home, enjoying daily naps, lunching with friends, exploring Forest Park, reading and working to restore a 120 year old house. He was active in his community; a member of the X Main Street Corporation, the Springfield Preservation Trust, volunteering as a foster care reviewer with DCF, volunteering with Springfield School Volunteers, the Mobile Food Bank, on two School Decision Making teams and leading the legal fight to prevent historic buildings in Springfield from being demolished. Allen stood in solidarity with those protesting the Vietnam War (like so many he never forgot his draft number), the Iran Contra affair in Nicaragua, the Occupy Wall Street movement and countless other social justice issues. He worked tirelessly on many political campaigns, most recently for the “Yes on 4” campaign to legalize marijuana. He was forever aghast at the atrocities of the war on drugs.
Allen could often be found running, swimming all the way around almost any pond, and biking, capping the day off with a glass of red wine and a healthy meal. Books, music, art and his work were important; however, spending time with family was his truest pleasure.
Allen was a stay at home father for seven years, teaching his sons, Alexander and Marcello, lessons he had learned from his parents, work, and his own reading, all defined by a respect for all, a thirst for knowledge, an appreciation of art and the world’s natural beauties, and the desire to live a wonderful life.
He is survived by his spouse and partner, Sandra A. Collins, and their sons, Alexander and Marcello Agnitti. His sisters, Roseanne Agnitti and Christine Agnitti. Three nephews, Joel, Sky, Trevor (Angelica), and two grand nephews, Varric and Alec; as well as numerous family members, colleagues and lifelong friends all around the world.
The family would like to thank the many staff who cared for Allen with dignity, kindness and grace. From Baystate Medical Center, housekeeping staff including Shakira, dietary services including Brianna, PCT’s specifically Lai’Shaa and Russell, nurses on Daly 5, especially Michelle, Nora, JB, Stephanie, Karen, and Dr. Prevaiz. At Dana Farber, nurses Jackie, Jenn, and Jacki were compassionate and gentle. Allen was extremely grateful to ambulance drivers, JP and Kim, who drove him home from Boston. His hospice team included Baystate Hospice nurse Diane and PCT Shelia and Cindy of Pioneer Valley Home Care. For almost three weeks, this dedicated team provided tender care and support to Allen and his family.
In lieu of flowers, Allen would want people to do the following: vote in all elections, donate to a charity of their choice and most importantly treat all people and the environment with respect and kindness. Allen’s life was incredibly blessed by the way he treated others and how they treated him. A celebration of life will be held on Friday, October 23 from 5-8 pm at the Barney Carriage House in Forest Park.
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