Allen Wluka of Foxborough passed on March 28, 2023 at the young age of 72 at Newbridge on the Charles in Dedham after a long battle with Lewy Body Dementia. A son of Holocaust Survivors Icek and Bronia Wluka, he lived a full and meaningful life in many ways. After graduating from Northeastern University, Allen began his career in sales with Scandinavian Design and rose to the position of Vice-President of the office furniture division. He provided oversight and training for stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington DC and Honolulu. Ever the entrepreneur, Allen and his beloved wife Gwen opened Office Gallery International (OGI) in 1989. They grew it into a major force in the office furniture industry providing personal service and resources for home offices, small businesses, large firms, institutions, and call centers. Despite that growth, Allen was always hands-on, showing up alongside his delivery crews with his own tools to make sure that everything went as it should. In 2016, Allen and Gwen retired and sold OGI to his sales managers, Mike & Hilary Troia who have carried on the traditions that are its signature.
It was hardly all business for Allen. He had an acerbic sense of humor, enjoying making people laugh. He was an accomplished and avid golfer as is Gwen. They golfed both locally and in Florida and enjoyed playing with brother Michael and sister-in-law Nancy. He and Gwen took golf vacations whenever they could get away. They also traveled to Holland to be with Gwen’s family who reciprocated with frequent trips to the US. Poker was another passion for Allen. He and his “gang” have played continuously for nearly 50 years! Allen also enjoyed skiing and motorcycling with brother David and sister-in-law Nancy, the other Nancy Wluka!
Most of all, Allen loved his daughter, Danielle, her husband Jeff, and his grandkids Franki, Liv and Anthony who all loved “Opa” right back. Gwen and Allen spent many happy times in New Jersey with them. Finally, there is his furry Bichon “kid” Chloe. She owned Allen instead of the other way around. She was there at his feet at home and at Newbridge, comforting him just by being there.
Allen’s family would like to express their deep gratitude to the doctors, caregivers, and Rabbi Karen Landy at Hebrew Senior Life’s Newbridge on the Charles. Their compassionate care for Allen through his last months and their equally compassionate support for his family will never be forgotten.
Allen’s funeral service will be held at 12:noon, Wednesday, March 29th, 2023, at Schlossberg Family’s Chapel on the Hill, 824 Washington Street in Canton, with the interment to follow at Sharon Memorial Park.
Allen was a kind soul who made the world a better place. Donations in his memory may be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association (lbda.org).
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Linda saysMarch 28, 2023 at 9:23 pm
My heart is broken. Allen was an amazing person. He was always there for Alan during those trying days I hope he will be giving my Alan hell up there. Sending hugs and love to you Gwen and Danielle and the rest of the family.
Steven saysMarch 30, 2023 at 12:09 am
Alan and Wookie, and how their closeness transformed my own sense of self.. He was there for us in rough times, and taught me how to laugh in darkness. It’s dark tonight, but his legacy will give us light; thank you Allen, you’ve always been a source of inspiration and love.
Ted & Kate Elkind saysMarch 29, 2023 at 1:38 am
His name became Wookie, my name became Tedela. Allen was 10 years old, I was 11, when we first met in 5th grade at the Tucker school on Blue Hills Parkway in Milton. We’ve been close for over 60 years.
Allen was a year behind me at Northeastern, but whenever our schedules allowed we’d have lunch or just hang out. Somehow we were always connected.
I’ve grown up with Icek, Bronia, David and Michael and families, grown to love Gwen and Danielle. I maintain that Bronia’s kugel was the Kugel Gold Standard of kugels for all time.
This is a tremendously sad moment for me and for Kate. Handsome, witty, funny, loyal, loving, wacky. It was always a joy to be with Allen.
I lobbied so hard back in 1967 for him to get the license plate WOOKIE to match his nickname. It might be a good thing he was too professional to listen at the time. We were surfboarding in Nantasket and I thought WOOKIE would look so cool on his Opel Kadett with the surfboard on the roof – in March, yet..FYI, Star Wars debuted in 1977, but Wookie debuted far earlier.
We were both in the draft in 1967 and we were worried about going off to Vietnam. I lucked out with a high lottery number, but Wookie? His June 8th birthday was #365; talk about safe. We always kvelled about his lottery luck.
I will always love and miss Wookie. I thank him for 60 years of laughs and loyalty. My heart is broken and G-d give Gwen and all the Wookies in the world the strength to deal with this deep sadness.
Michael saysApril 4, 2023 at 1:44 pm
Sandi and Bruce Katz saysMarch 29, 2023 at 4:35 pm
Bruce and I are both very sorry for your loss. Allen will be missed by many. May his memory be for a blessing.
Mike Elkind saysMarch 29, 2023 at 5:05 pm
Heartbroken to hear about Wookie. So many memories growing up with the Wluka family and we are so sad that he is gone. He lit up every room he walked into and always made you feel special.
Hilda Morrill saysMarch 29, 2023 at 8:57 pm
So many wonderful memories of a very special friend, whether it was travelling with the team to check out locations for future Scandinavian Design stores or making excellent suggestions for public relations projects.
Then, there was the Blizzard of ’78 when he taught me how to make delicious potato latkes, and to make sure I wouldn’t forget, gifted me “The Art of Jewish Cooking.” He signed the book next to the latkes recipe: “Only to be eaten with me, when snowed in. Thanks for making the blizzard memorable! Ho! Ho!” And he taught us lots of card games that snowbound week!
After a 1982 business trip to Copenhagen, he felt so bad that I never got to visit Tivoli Gardens that in 1990 he gifted me their poster signed ‘All our love ~ Allen & Gwen’.
Sincere and heartfelt condolences, Gwen and family. Allen will always and forever be in our hearts.
Liz Desrochers (Fineman) saysMarch 30, 2023 at 12:58 am
Gwen, I am so sorry for your loss. I cried when I heard the news as if my own father had passed again. Hopefully Allen and Alan are sitting on a beach somewhere or playing poker together. He was one of my father’s greatest friends. I still laugh to this day when anyone mentions “Wookie.” He was a character and helped keep my dad in good spirits. My thoughts are with you as we celebrate his life.
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