Longtime Medfield resident, Barbara Dietmann Allan, 81, died on July 2ndat Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia after a long illness.
Born in Berlin, Germany on January 1,1938, to Rudolph Dietmann, a prominent Konditor pastry chef and Helene Sinkula Dietmann, Barbara witnessed the rise and fall of Nazi Germany, the start of the Cold War, and German reunification during her lifetime.
Recalling her earliest memory as a child, she remembered emerging from an underground air raid shelter, feeling the scorching heat on her face, and seeing fires ranging in the street after an aerial bombing attack. Her family was bombed out of their home three times and she lost five of six cousins during the war.
Barbara studied English, graduated from the Askanisches Gymnasium, and continued her education in Switzerland before emigrating to the United States in 1956. She moved to Florida where she met her husband David Bremner Allan. He was a musician performing in the orchestra while she sang in the chorus of a Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta, The Pirates of Penzance.
They became engaged in 1961 and married in 1962 in Medfield, Massachusetts. They resided in Boston’s Back Bay near Symphony Hall. Barbara worked at The Studio Shop in Copley Square and later at the Silversmith Shop. In 1969, they moved to Medfield where her husband’s family had been longtime residents and town settlers.
Barbara was known for her jeweled Christmas ornaments, created in a classic German style with an ornate array of sequins, European crystals, velvet ribbon, lace and beading. Her work was shown and sold at Shreve, Crump & Low in Boston and Wellesley’s European Manor. Each year she gave many ornaments away as gifts including a special design she created in 1976 for President and Mrs. Gerald Ford. Copies of her special White House Bicentennial ornament were also sold locally in a Medfield boutique.
In addition to her Christmas ornaments, Barbara excelled at needlework arts. Along with decorative pillows and canvas artworks, she also worked on the Medfield Town Seal needlepoint project for the town library.
She volunteered in the Medfield Public Library where her husband served as a trustee, and for her children’s schools. Later, she worked at the Alexander Allan Insurance Agency, founded by her husband’s late father in the historic James Ord Block building in Medfield. In 2018, she moved to Falls Church City, Virginia where she resided at The Kensington, an assisted living community.
Predeceased by her husband David and her parents, her survivors include two sisters, Anja Buchmann of Berlin, Germany, Evelyn Lopatka of Winter Park, Florida; two children, son Christopher Allan of Medfield, daughter Ariadne Allan Autor of Falls Church, Virginia; as well as four grandchildren, Mason David Allan, Cora Elizabeth Allan, Christian Alexander Allan Autor, and Alexander Hans Rudolph Autor.
After cremation, a private family memorial service will be held this fall. A memorial donation may be made to The Lowell Mason House, Friends of the Medfield Public Library, and the David B. Allan Scholarship Fund at The Tilton School.
The Lowell Mason House, P.O. Box913, Medfield, MA 02052
Friends of the Medfield Public Library, 468 Main Street, Medfield, MA 02052
The Tilton School, 30 School Street, Tilton, NH 03276