Allen E. Alban, former chief engineer with Kraft Foods whose career spanned 47 years and who was known as the "Mayor of Stevenson," died Tuesday of complications from a stroke at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. He was 100.
The son of farmers, Allen Earl Alban was born and raised in Albantown in northern Baltimore County. He attended county public schools until the sixth grade.
Mr. Alban went to work for the old Western Maryland Dairy in 1932, which later became Sealtest Foods and finally Kraft Foods.
"He was so smart that Western Maryland Dairy sent him to Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering," said a daughter, Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, who is director of the American Visionary Art Museum.
Mr. Alban enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 and after training was sent to the China-Burma-India theater. He spent most of the war in Karachi, Pakistan, where he was in charge of aircraft assembly and maintenance.
Discharged at war's end with the rank of master sergeant, he returned to Baltimore and resumed his career with Sealtest, eventually rising to chief engineer.
Locally, one of his projects was designing and building a milk-processing plant for the Eastern Division of Sealtest Foods on a 10-acre site at Loch Raven Road and Exeter Hall Avenue, which opened for operation in 1965 and is currently operated by Cloverland Dairy.
Mr. Alban retired in 1979.
A Stevenson resident since 1950, Mr. Alban was active in community affairs and was known for his half-acre summer vegetable garden, whose bounty he shared with neighbors.
Despite having lost his hearing some years ago, Mr. Alban kept up on current events and the news. Family members said he was a progressive Democrat.
He also was a fan of the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, "which he could recite from memory," said Ms. Hoffberger. "My father was gifted with a photographic memory."
Family members said that Mr. Alban did not follow a specific health regimen and attained centenarian status in spite of his habits.
"His diet was absolutely terrible and unhealthy, and I am surprised that he made it to 50," said another daughter, Phyllis Alban Kruck of Annapolis, with a laugh.
"Every morning he'd start off with seven tablespoons of fruit cocktail in a thick sauce, which he followed with a Bavarian cream doughnut from Dunkin' Donuts," she said. "And the rest of his meals for the day were not a whole lot healthier."
His wife of 68 years, the former Margaret Jane "Peggy" McGill, died in 2010.
Services are private.
In addition to his daughters, Mr. Alban is survived by four grandchildren and a great-grandson.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun