Allen Montgomery Blake passed away at age 80 on September 10, 2020. He was a resident of Sarasota, Florida. Al will be remembered by his family, friends and former clients as a kind and gentle spirit who cared deeply about those he loved and the clients he represented, especially those who had been wrongfully terminated by their employers. As Pastor Bill who was the minister at the church in Sarasota, Florida that Al attended recently wrote:“ Your brother was one of my favorites…a precious and caring soul”.
Born in Montclair, New Jersey and growing up in Bernardsville, New Jersey and Rowayton, Connecticut Al spent his summers sailing at the Shelter Island Yacht Club and playing semi-pro baseball in the Stamford Twi-light league for Sam Cappola’s Stamford Tile team and for The Norwalk Hat Corporation team in the Norwalk League. When Al was 15 The San Francisco Giants wanted to sign him to a minor league contract and to his dismay his father nixed the idea insisting that he continue his education. However, Al did pursue his dream of playing professional baseball when he later signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and played for three years. On his way to their triple A affiliate Al had success but told the story of his Dad and two friends who went to watch a weekend of games in North Carolina during which in 14 at bats over three games he struck out 12 times. When his Dad asked him “where do you think this is leading?” Al replied with his sense of humor and love of baseball- “Dad right to the big leagues”. Al loved sports and played three varsity sports at Tabor Academy and Kenyon College. Al loved talking sports and his friends loved to hear him recite statistics his stories of the feats of various athletes drawn from his encyclopedic knowledge of the history of whatever sport he was discussing.
Al’s family and friends will remember his many achievements, captain of three sports at Tabor Academy, winning four national sailing championships with his brother Herb, his appointment to President John Kennedy’s Presidential Honor Guard while serving in the United States Army at Ft Belvoir, in Virginia where he also played football and baseball. His winning arguments before the United States Supreme Court and his appearance before the Congressional Labor Relations committee to testify about proposed EEOC legislation affecting workers that he represented. But first and foremost Al will be remembered for, and was happiest when, helping those he cared about and especially those whom he would meet who had little and in some way he could help.
Al graduated from Tabor Academy in 1957 and subsequently established a scholarship in the name of his teammate and friend George Crawford who despite a critically disabling accident went on to become a successful trial attorney in South Carolina. Al finished his undergraduate studies at the University of Bridgeport and graduated from the Stetson Law School in 1969, where he occasionally taught a Labor Law course with his law partner Granville Alley.
Al was a partner at the Alley Rock & Dinkle law firm in Tampa, Florida before joining his lifelong friend Bob Cacella’s law firm in Bradenton, Florida. Thereafter Al formed his own law firm and represented employees around the country who had been wrongfully terminated, winning several multi-million dollar settlements for his clients.
Although Al battled a series of health issues over the past three years he continued his lifelong passion for exercise, swimming, playing basketball and an occasional tennis game as long as he could. He took particular delight in coaching and contributing to Bill Ivey’s Suncoast Youth Basketball program in Sarasota, Florida. With his brothers Al enjoyed visiting his nephew Mike Blake and his wife Masha and their daughter Leighton.
Al was predeceased by his Father and Mother, Herbert and Anita Blake and his wife Pat and is survived by his two brothers Herb of Stamford, Connecticut and John of Oriental, North Carolina, his cousin Lissa Anderson, who was like a sister to him and her extended family, his nieces Natasha Hunter and Meredith Fleisher, his four nephews, Brooks, Scott, Eric, and Michael Blake and their children and a long time friend Debbie Davis and her son Vinny, who Al helped raise from the time he was born and whom he supported and encouraged as anyone would his own son.
Funeral arrangements have been made by the Downing Funeral Home in Spring Hill, Florida. Al will be buried in Shelter Island, New York where his parents are buried and where he and his brothers learned to sail. There will be a memorial service at a later date in Sarasota, Florida.
Memorial gift may be made in Al’s name to the Suncoast Basketball league or to the YMCA In Sarasota, Florida.
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