Obituary of Christopher Welch Allen


Chris is survived by his wife, Jonell (Jo), Son, Jonathan Christopher, Daughter-in-law, Diane Allen, and 6 granddaughters, Rebekah 17, Rachel 15, Renee 14, Rose 10, Roxanne 8 and Ramona 2. He is also survived by his sister, Cyndy Clapp, Nephew, Gray Clapp and his two daughters, Kayli 15, Greylynn 11 and niece Molly Clapp Sellers and her husband Mike.


Chris was born in Elmira, NY on August 23, 1948. I believe they lived there for about 3-4 years, then moved back down south, to Columbia, SC which was his mother’s hometown. By that time, they had added a little sister, Cynthia. The family of 4 then became official southerners. They lived in Columbia moved to Charlotte where Mr. Allen had a filling station for a few years, before joining the US Postal Service.


They lived in the Myers Park area where Chris attended and graduated from Myers Park High School in 1966. He worked for a short time at the steel mill here in Charlotte then joined the USAF. While in the AF he traveled extensively as a combat photographer.


After leaving the AF he worked in the NC Film Industry as a grip. In the mid 70’s he opened his own business and set out as what was believed to be the first Freelance Grip in the area. I would love to hear from all you film industry friends, what you remember about working with him. I do not have a lot of those stories to share with his son and granddaughters.


Chris was always a Train Fan, way back from his teens. He has taken many pictures of railways, etc. and has several of his collections in different museums and libraries in the South and Midwest. He loved doing volunteer work at the North Carolina Transportation Museum and eventually moving into doing restoration on some of the engines and cars. He did restorative work and maintenance on Car 85 while it was up there in the recent years, participating in helping move it back to Charlotte where it is now at the Lakewood Trolley.


In 1988 Chris began a project that he truly loved and enjoyed. The restoration of Charlotte Trolley, Car 85. He was active in one way or another with Car 85 up until October of 2018. He has often been referred to as “the trolley guy” and got a kick out of that.


In the last couple of years he really enjoyed going to auctions and searching for that special vintage something or another. He liked the unusual vintage tools, cameras and equipment to use for restoration. He had just finished helping on a Coffee Truck (coffee instead of food) and was thrilled he was able to work with his friends on that project and figure out how to “make it work.”


Chris was a truly kind, humble and loving man. He adored his family, especially his 6 beautiful granddaughters. He will be so missed, but when he is thought of a smile will always come to our faces.


We miss you Papa!!  Keep your eyes on us, we will endeavor to make you proud!!