on August 20, 2013 - 5:55 PM
March 1, 1918 – Aug. 18, 2013
Joseph A. “Al” McAllister of Depew, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force and industrial arts teacher in Buffalo Public Schools, died Sunday in Our Lady of Victory Mercy Nursing Care, Lackawanna. He was 95.
Born in New York City, Col. McAllister grew up in Ithaca and graduated from Ithaca High School in 1935 before attending the Citizen Military Training Camp at Fort Niagara from 1936 to 1940, when he also studied at Buffalo State Teachers College.
He graduated from Buffalo State in 1940 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts.
Col. McAllister taught mechanical drawing in Norfolk, Va., and also worked at the Curtiss-Wright plant in Kenmore, building P-40 aircraft, and at the Buffalo Arms plant in Sloan, assembling machine guns.
In November 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Forces in Buffalo, and after graduating from officer training in Boca Raton, Fla., he was commissioned a second lieutenant.
Col. McAllister was assigned to duty as an armament chemical officer at Gowen Field in Idaho with a B-24 training group.
He further trained in Florida and was transferred to several other locations, including Arizona, Hawaii and Fort Dix, N.J., before returning to Buffalo as a first lieutenant in the Reserve.
He was promoted to the rank of captain.
In May 1951, Col. McAllister was returned to active duty and was assigned as a squadron commander at Samson Air Force Base in New York, in charge of basic training for the 3661st Squadron. He earned his master’s degree in secondary school administration at the University of Buffalo in 1952.
Col. McAllister was transferred to Scotland in 1954, and in 1957, he returned to Buffalo, then served three years as an Air Force ROTC instructor at UB before being sent off to Tennessee as an administrative officer.
His globetrotting continued in 1960, when Col. McAllister was appointed base commander in the Philippines. A year later, he was promoted to major.
Later in his military career, Col. McAllister was assigned administratively in Nevada and then Washington State before he retired as a lieutenant colonel in November 1967.
Col. McAllister taught industrial arts at School 78 in Buffalo from January 1968 through June 1985.
He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa at the University of Buffalo, Canisius College Sodality, a member of the Holy Name Society of St. Teresa Catholic Church in Buffalo and the Holy Name Society of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Depew.
His wife, Jean Patricia Corcoran McAllister, died in 1990.
He is survived by a daughter, Teresa Ann Udelson; and a sister, Betty Ann Poole.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in St. Martha Parish, formerly Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church, French Road, Depew. Prayers will be said at 9 in Pacer Funeral Home, 2275 George Urban Blvd.
– T.J. Pignataro