James J. Allegro passed away peacefully at The Bailey Family Center for Caring in St. Augustine, FL on December 31, 2022, at the age of 88.
Allegro was a devoted husband and father, a highly successful businessman and a respected member of his community. A man of deep faith and great integrity, his high ethical standards were an example to all who knew him. He served as a valued and supportive role model to his large family and numerous business associates and friends, touching many with his wise counsel, sage advice and kindnesses.
Born in Chelsea, MA to first generation Italian immigrants Mario and Pauline Allegro, Jim Allegro was the youngest of two boys. He and his brother were the first in their family to attend college.
At Malden High School he was voted to the All-State Football team and later selected to the school’s Golden Tornados Hall of Fame. Allegro was awarded a full football scholarship to the College of the Holy Cross where he was designated a Holy Cross “Iron Man” by The Boston Globe. Upon graduating he fulfilled his obligation to the U.S. Marine Corps and attended Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA. While at Quantico, Allegro unsurprisingly was asked (ordered) to play defensive tackle for the Marine Corps football team. Commissioned a Captain, he was assigned to a Marine Fighter/Attack Squadron as an Ordinance Officer.
At the time of his retirement from a busy and successful business career, Allegro held the position of Executive Vice President Operations and Chief Financial Officer of ESPN. Here he was blessed to work with some of the best television executives in the business and to combine his financial and entrepreneurial spirit with theirs to help build ESPN from a one channel novelty to the communications behemoth it is today. Prior to ESPN, Allegro spent 14 years with Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. (today part of the Walt Disney Company) serving as Vice President, Publishing, Vice President Finance and Administration and later Operations for the ABC Owned Television Station Division, Senior Vice President, Network Group and Senior Vice President, Broadcasting Group. Prior to his broadcasting career, he worked in financial positions for Reliance Corporation, CHC Corporation and General Motors Corporation.
Allegro took special pride in several of his career accomplishments. In 1992 he was instrumental in the creation of the ESPY Awards Show, serving as Executive Producer of the first shows. That same year he started ESPN radio and in l993 was involved in one of the first expansions of the brand when ESPN2 was launched. Allegro served on the ESPN Board of Directors and upon retirement, he became a consultant to the company. He made forays into the production business airing on ESPN, namely, the Triple Crown of Polo and Roller Hockey. Neither was very successful but both a lot of fun. Perhaps Allegro’s proudest accomplishment was his active involvement in the founding of the ESPN V Foundation, a charity solely dedicated to cancer research. Guided by the mantra “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up,” the Foundation has raised over $310M for cancer research grants and has become one of the premier supporters of cutting-edge cancer research. Allegro served as Emeritus Director of the Foundation until his death. In his local community he had also been involved with the St. Gerard Campus, The Boselli Foundation, The St. Francis House and The Bailey Family Center for Caring.
Allegro shared 37 years of marriage with his cherished wife Lesley. He is the beloved father to seven children: Leslie, Christine, Jim Jr. (Jennifer), Pauline (Steve), Deborah, Julie (Mike) and Greg (Mary Jane). He was predeceased by his much-loved daughter Eileen, his special grandson Jamie, his first wife Antrese and his brother Joe. He leaves 14 grandchildren: Joey, Max, Jake, Bailey, Ryan, Owen, Allie, Zach, Kevin, Rebecca, Alexander, Jaxy, Bade and Harbeck along with many nieces, nephews, in-laws, friends and colleagues too numerous to note but, they all know who they are, and the special place Allegro held for them in his heart.
A visitation will be held at St. Anastasia Catholic Church in St. Augustine, FL (5205 A1A S.) on Thursday, January 12, 2023, from 5pm to 7pm. The funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, January 13, 2023, at 11am. Arrangements are being made by the Ponte Vedra Valley Funeral Home. Flowers are gratefully declined but memorial donations (remembrances) may be made to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, 14600 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513 or https://www.v.org.