On September 5, 2019, Christopher J. (“Chris”) Allegra, M.D. of Chappaqua, New York, beloved husband and father of three children, died peacefully after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 60.
Christopher was born on March 20, 1959, in Providence, Rhode Island, to Drs. Salvatore and Marisa (Calzolari) Allegra. He attended the Moses Brown School in Providence. Chris would forever cherish his wonderful summer adventures with his brothers and friends in Jamestown, RI, swimming, sailing, spearfishing, and catching lobsters.
He graduated from Tufts University in 1981 with a B.S. in Biology. From there Chris spent an exploratory year drawing and painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and was then accepted to the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he began his master’s degree in Architecture. However, his heart remained in the sciences and medicine, and after working in medical research at Massachusetts General Hospital, he decided to become a physician. He graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1991 with an M.D. He completed his residency in Adult Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1995, and training in Psychoanalysis at Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training & Research in 1999. Christopher was awarded the Rodman Gilder Scholarship for Psychoanalytic Training, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in 1994, and the Alumni Association Horowitz Award for Clinical Excellence, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, in 1995.
As a clinical and academic psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Christopher divided his time between his private practice and teaching. He was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, having served on the Columbia faculty since 1996. He taught at the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center, Psychotherapy Division, and the Columbia Psychiatry Residency Program. He taught psychoanalytic theory and technique, and was a clinical supervisor for fourth year psychiatry residents. His clinical practice was a source of great personal and professional joy to Chris, and he brought his intellect, warmth, kindness, and compassion to his work with his patients.
Chris had an abiding passion for music and played the piano throughout his life. He was a member of two bands, playing the keyboard. He organized annual musical events with family and friends at his beloved summer home in Jamestown, RI, where everyone sang and played instruments.
Chris loved nature and spent endless hours throughout his life studying and exploring animal behavior. He was an avid skier and sailor. Many fine summer afternoons found him sailing with his children on Narragansett Bay in their catamaran, flying across the bay to Newport.
Chris will be remembered for his openhearted warmth, his generosity of spirit, and his love of science, art, music, and nature. He had an authentic curiosity and appreciation of what makes us human. He brought out the best in people.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 35 years, MaryEllen; three children, who were the joy of his heart, Nicholas, Ryan, and Alessandra; his loving mother, Marisa (Calzolari) Allegra, M.D. (partner Edwin Ofgant); two cherished brothers, Ludwig Allegra, M.D. (Arlene), and David Allegra, M.D.; and much-loved niece Alexis Allegra (Daniel Carr). He was preceded in death by his father, Salvatore R. Allegra, M.D.
A memorial gathering will take place at Ballard-Durand Funeral Home in White Plains, NY on September 14, 2019 from 2 pm to 6 pm.
A Celebration of Life is planned for October 5, 2019.
Memorial donations may be made to:
Weill Cornell Medicine https://s010.med.cornell.edu/wcmc/make-a-donation.html?dept=Genitourinary%20Oncology%20Program
Natural Resources Defense Council https://act.nrdc.org/donate/force-for-nature