Champlain’s Theresa Allore Scholarship is bitter sweet for brother
The sands of time and the winds of change have a way of lessening a heart’s pain and diluting horrific losses, but for John Allore the worry and anguish over the disappearance of his sister (Theresa Allore) in 1978 followed by the gruesome discovery of her partially clothed lifeless body in a Compton field that spring of ‘79 has infused his life.
But, despite it all he is now capable of saying: ‘I have no issues with the past’.
“I’m tired,” said Allore from his North Carolina home Monday evening. “I’m not a hateful person and I don’t have it in my heart to blame anymore. Personally, I would say (Theresa’s) death has cost me my marriage, but I weathered that. This special collaboration with Champlain (College) is an encouraging and healing turn of events.”
Theresa was last seen at her Champlain Regional College dormitory that unforgettable day in November and her death, according to Lennoxville police at the time, was ruled a drug-related suicide, a theory that was accepted by the College. The Allores, however, refused to believe the conclusion and took it upon themselves in 2002 to begin their own investigation. John’s search for answers and several high profile media reports prompted police to declare the death a murder. His sister’s autopsy proved no trace of drugs, illicit or otherwise, and though Montreal Surete du Quebec later officially reopened the case it remains unsolved to this day.
The College’s reluctance to support the family or give assistance in the murder investigation caused resentment for John. That is, until last month when a treaty and combined effort was forged, by way of a scholarship in the memory of the promising student that will immortalize her.
“A year ago I sent a letter to Gerry Cutting (then Champlain director general) suggesting some kind of cooperation like this,” stated Allore, “I explained to him that I harboured no resentment or ill will with the past, or Champlain. Today I feel the issue of Theresa’s death as it concerns Champlain has been thoroughly vetted and I have no wish to continue looking back. I just wanted to do something good in the name of my sister for the future. I offered (Cutting) an olive branch and I fully expected (Champlain) to reject it as so many ill feelings had passed between us. To my surprise he emailed me back and said it was a good idea.”
Since Allore’s attempt to bury the past, but never his sister’s memory, Cutting has retired from his position but his successor; Kenneth Robertson has stepped forward with the initiative and according to Allore has helped throw it into fruition.
“Ken has been a prince,” stated Allore who has let go of accusations and contempt. “I had a great time when I was there (end of September to work on logistics and announce the initiative publicly) and they gave me a Champlain pin, which I’m wearing right now. I know that a pin isn’t really a big deal for some people, but for me, in this case I wear it very proudly.”
Robertson explained the Memorial Fund. “While we have struggled for many years with the tragic loss of a young life filled with a spirit of adventure, it has come the time to celebrate her life so that Theresa may inspire others,” Robertson announced. “There is no doubt in the hearts of those who had the privilege to share in her all too short life that this is exactly how Theresa would want to be remembered. We ask that you consider donating to the Theresa Allore Memorial Fund, so that we can continue to celebrate her life by encouraging a worthy student.”
Theresa has been described as energetic, compassionate, a good student, a music lover, as well as a social studies pupil, but Allore says the criteria for the scholarship remains broad. Students with campus and community involvement, good grades and a financial need are all worthy candidates for the first scholarship, which is to be awarded in spring, but how much will depend on how much support the Fund garners.
“We’ve raised around $3,500 and our goal is $20,000. We hope to have collected $5 to $10,000 by Christmas so that we can award hopefully $500 (the interest accumulated) in the spring,” Allore states. “It’s good for the soul to support things like this. It’s a wonderful gift to the people of the Townships, I want everyone to share in the creation of the endowment for future students. People should know that it’s the $5, $10’s and $15 donations that make all the difference.”
The once devastated now revitalized brother says that visiting the Townships now, as opposed to his previous visits filled with frustration and furiousness has opened his eyes. In fact, he says the fall walks along the Lakes and community gatherings have never been so beautiful.
With a renewed sense of inspiration and a continued support by AFPAD (l’Association des Familles de Personnes Assassinées ou Disparues du Québec)’s Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, Allore says he maintains an overwhelming need to never forget.
“I’m still holding out that we will find Theresa’s murderer,” concluded Allore, who has also vowed to bury the hatchet with police. “Yeah, it’s hard not to. I feel like the moment I stop caring this case will go dormant again. I need to come (to the Townships) once a year to keep the case fresh and alive in (SQ)’s mind. It will be my job for the rest of my life. To the SQ’s credit; when I ask them to look into something they do, but to their discredit; they are not very proactive. I suggested knocking on doors. They said, ‘we did Mr. Allore. 30 years ago’. There’s no creativity there, but I have come to terms with the fact that the older the case gets the harder it is to solve.”
To help the Theresa Allore Memorial Fund send contributions to c/o Marielle Denis, P.O. 5003 (Champlain Lennoxville Campus), Sherbrooke, J1M 2A1.