Gary Robert Van Allen

Gary Robert Van Allen

After a 32-year career with the State Police, Gary Robert Van Allen left what he called the rat race for retirement to the summer house on Helderberg Lake that he had so much enjoyed when he was growing up.

He died unexpectedly on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. He was 72.

“He was very witty, very punctual, very observant, and very supportive of family and friends through tough times,” said his son, Eric Van Allen. “He was a good father — old-school, supportive and direct.”

Gary Van Allen was born on Oct. 7, 1943 in Wichita Falls, Texas to the late John and Eleanor Van Allen. He grew up in the Delmar area and graduated from Bethlehem Central High School. After attending Central University of Iowa, he served in the United States Army.

“He was a very dedicated supporter of the United States Army and of law enforcement,” said his son.

Mr. Van Allen retired from the New York State Police as a senior investigator with the violent felony warrant squad based in New York city. His years in the uniformed force were spent in Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties. He was one of the co-founders of the National Association of Fugitive Investigators and served as national president in 1997.

In 2008, he replaced the Helderberg Lake summer house, which he had visited since his youth, with a year-round residence. He enjoyed hunting in the Helderbergs and fishing at the lake. His son said he enjoyed participating in and supporting Helderberg Lake events.

“With the assistance of numerous Hilltown people, the property was transformed into a beautiful eye piece on the lake,” Gary Van Allen wrote, in a brief autobiographical sketch, which also said he would “lament to many local Hill people that, after the rat-race existence in New York City for 18 years, the life on the Hill was just what the doctor ordered.”

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Gary Robert Van Allen is survived by his sister, Barbara Sperbeck, of Indiana; his brother, John Van Allen; his daughter, Stacey Hommel; and his two sons, Eric Van Allen and Kyle Van Allen — all of Kingston, New York. He is also survived by numerous grandchildren and by nieces and nephews.

His stepsister, Donna Munro, died before him.

Calling hours will be held on Thursday, Sept. 1, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Joseph V. Leahy Funeral Home at 27 Smith Ave. in Kingston. A funeral will be held on Friday, Sept. 2, at 10 a.m. at the Old Dutch Church at 272 Wall Street in Kingston.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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