Allen Rosen

Obituary of Allen Rosen



Allen was born in 1952 in Toronto.  He was exceptionally self-driven, “his own man”, who never shied away from taking on new challenges.  After dropping out of high school, he spent his early adulthood raising a family in the Ottawa countryside, where he worked as a cabinet maker for eight years.  He was pleased with the simplicity of the trade where he provided skillfully manufactured furniture to happy customers.  Then the intellectual bug bit him.  He returned to school to finish a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the University of Toronto in 1980.  He continued studies at Cornel University where he earned a doctorate in 1989.  His dissertation, Kant’s Theory of Justice, was published in 1993 by Cornell University Press and has been acclaimed as a “handbook on the Kantian corpus”.


Allen returned to the University of Toronto to study law, graduating in 1994.  He practiced as a lawyer for several years.  Even though his legal practice was successful, he was missing adventure and challenges in his life.  An entrepreneur at heart, he opened a business designing and retailing furniture and other home furnishings, yet again bringing the beauty of his design into people's homes.


A free spirit who loved nature, especially the tropics, Allen lived in Panama for the last decade of his life where he managed a real estate agency and property development business.  Life in rural Panama taught him about the importance of service to others.  His compassionate drive led him to “adopt” an indigenous Ngabe Bugle community and start a project supporting the education of indigenous children and the rescue of abandoned animals.  At last count, he had adopted 18 dogs and 2 cats, who continue to thrive in his absence.


Allen believed that life was precious and was an adventure to be lived without regret.  Terminally ill, he never succumbed to self-pity.  He maintained an innate elegance and grace and intellectual curiosity until the very end.


It was a joy and a privilege to share life with Allen.


Allen will be missed by many whose lives he touched.  He is survived by his wife Biljana, son Mischa, step-daughter Thea, sister Robbie, niece Ilisha and nephew David.


The family is grateful to the medical staff at North York General Hospital: Dr. Joanne Yu, Dr. Shetty, nurse Kata Mrazovac and above all Allen's long-time friend Dr. George Jaskiw who always offered support and advice.


A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Allen will be laid to rest in Panama.  Condolences, photographs and memories may be forwarded through