Former Hunterdon County Republican leader killed by Covid-doubting contact

Clark R. Allen of Lantana, Florida, died of complications from COVID-19 on July 22, 2021, at the age of 84, after contracting the disease from ” someone who chose to not get vaccinated.”

“He was infected by someone who chose to not get vaccinated and his death was preventable,” said his obituary. “It is the wish of his family that everyone get vaccinated in order to prevent further death, sickness and heartbreak.”

During the 1960s, he was part of a vocal and brash ultraconservative faction within the 5,000-member Young Republicans — known as the Rat Finks —that published a parody songbook in the spring of 1965 featuring set to popular tunes with lyrics that celebrated Nazi attacks on Jews, used slurs to describe African-Americans as welfare dependents and cheered for the hanging of prominent Republican Party officials from ‘a sour apple tree.’

The group sparked a furor among GOP establishment leaders and set off a power struggle helped shape the early career of Thomas H. Kean, a moderate Republican who was elected governor in 1981.

The Rat Finks, a brash and staunchly right-wing faction of the New Jersey Young Republicans, livened up their parties in the spring of 1965 with song parodies set to popular tunes,” according to Charles Stile, a Bergen Record columnist. “It was all in the ‘spirit of fun,’ as one Rat Finks member said at the time — even if the lyrics occasionally celebrated Nazi attacks on Jews, used slurs to describe African-Americans as welfare dependents and cheered for the hanging of prominent Republican Party officials from ‘a sour apple tree.’ But establishment GOP elders responded in shock when the group’s seven-page songbook landed in their laps months later.

Clark was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1937, the son of Carroll and Edna Allen. He graduated from North Hunterdon Regional High School where he was the captain of the track and field team, president of both the Hi-Y and Key club, and member of the baseball team. He went on to receive his Bachelor of Science from Springfield College where he served as editor-in-chief of both the college newspaper and yearbook. He was also the general manager of the college radio station and a member of both the track and cross country teams.

During college, Clark participated in the Marine Corps Platoon Leadership program and he served as an officer for three years once he graduated. After a brief stint as a sports reporter for the Washington Post, he began his life-long career in advertising and marketing for consumer packaged goods. Clark was the founding member of the Clinton, New Jersey First Aid & Rescue Squad. He was a certified EMT and EMT trainer.

Shortly before retirement, Clark began his “second career” in Greenwich, CT as a baseball umpire and football official at high school and youth league levels. Clark loved all things sports and relished his “second career.” In Palm Beach County, he worked as precinct clerk, then field clerk, and supervisor in elections. Clark firmly believed in everyone’s right to vote and in the democratic process. It cannot go unmentioned how much Clark enjoyed animals. He regularly sent his children pictures of wild and tame animals he met and even named.

Clark is survived by his beloved children: George Allen of Neshanic Station, NJ; Kevin Allen of Winston-Salem, NC; Daydra Davenport of Lewisburg, OH; Kelly Allen of Leland, NC; Nicole Allen of Cos Cob, CT; Christopher Allen of Norwalk, CT; and Danielle Allen of Portland, OR. He is also survived by 17 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. Clark’s family wants to thank the nurses at JFK hospital in Atlantis, Florida for their incredible kindness and compassion to Clark when he was unable to have family at his side due to Covid-19.

A memorial for the family was held privately. In lieu of flowers mourners are asked to consider a donation to one of Clark’s favorite non-profits, the ASPCA.

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