REMEMBERING JEFFREY ALLEGRETTI
WHO WAS JEFF?
Jeffrey Allegretti, born in Trenton, New Jersey on August 15, 1954, after accumulating a lifetime of devoted friends and family, and friends who became family, passed away after a valiant 2 year battle with esophageal cancer, on March 17, 2020, surrounded by his family. Jeff was the beloved husband of Theresa, father of AnnaLisa, Bernardino and Victor. He was a devoted brother, treasured friend and respected colleague.
Raised in an Italian, Catholic, working class family, he grew up with a strong respect for cultural heritage and tradition, and a deep understanding of what it takes to build and maintain strong communities. After graduating from Temple University, Jeff’s career took a decidedly practical turn into community development. He had a remarkable ability to master a broad range of subjects including technical, social, historical, and financial. As he grew, he developed the ability to connect with virtually every person he met and to solve an extraordinary range of problems, with and for a diverse community--more than just able to solve these problems, he was compelled. He applied his diverse expertise and the full range of his skills and compassion on a daily basis to strengthen many different communities in Philadelphia.
Among his many accomplishments, Jeff founded Innova Services Corporation, one of Philadelphia’s most important affordable housing development companies. Affordable housing was his passion, and no one understood the intrinsic challenges and opportunities better than Jeff. He implemented new models of affordable housing development; models that addressed gentrification, extensively utilized energy efficiency measures, and preserved the integrity of the architectural and human fabric of Philadelphia, the city he loved so well. Jeff was one of those rare human beings who understood the “big picture” and the importance of getting the little things right in order to actually achieve big goals. No detail escaped him. While at Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, Jeff realized that housing preservation required addressing structural problems, maintenance, energy use, and health and safety simultaneously. He pioneered the “whole house” approach within the City government’s bureaucracy, literally wrestling disparate and unwieldy programs into one elegant, streamlined delivery system. This was a labor of love, requiring a mastery of political, technical, bureaucratic and labor management. Very few people possess this range of skills and rarely do those people choose to work in public service. Jeff was such a person. For more information on Jeff's career, click here to read an obituary that Inga Saffron wrote in the Inquirer.
His deep spirituality strengthened his ability to empathize with others. He was at home in the many different worlds his family, faith, work and passions took him. Jeff was extraordinarily generous. A master of Italian cuisine, he whipped up lavish dishes to bring to friends and family in times of need. He served on many Boards of Directors over the years and was instrumental in historic preservation efforts, open space preservation, zoning and neighborhood planning that have significantly improved Roxborough and Manayunk.
His sharp wit, wonderful sense of humor and endless intellectual curiosity helped him overcome countless obstacles and build a lasting legacy, not just of brick and mortar developments, and stronger systems, institutions and standards, but of living, breathing, vital communities.
A memorial service will be held later this year. We invite you to share your memories and thoughts about Jeff. In order to do so, click here and either 'start a discussion' or leave a comment on a previous post.