Loved and Lost: Memorializing victims of COVID-19 in NJ
Loved and Lost is a project about memorializing those lost to COVID-19 in NJ.
This story is part of Loved and Lost, a statewide media collaboration working to celebrate the life of every New Jersey resident who died of COVID-19. To learn more and submit a loved one’s name to be profiled, visit lovedandlostnj.com.
Allen Alejandro found true love at a bowling alley in Jersey City.
He showed up there one Sunday in 1985 planning to quit its league, recalled his wife, Yvette. He had committed to a different group.
“He said he liked me then, when he saw me, so he quit the other one,” she said. “We developed a great love.”
Born in August 1951, Alejandro grew up in Manila in the Philippines. He worked in a hardware store to pay his way through college, where he earned a degree as a marine engineer.
His specialty led him to the seas. For five years, he worked onboard ocean-spanning vessels, while pondering a move to the United States. Then in 1978, he got off a boat in New Jersey and never got back on board.
“He jumped ship,” his wife said. “It sounds like a negative [but] it was good. He did it to better his life.”
Alejandro lived with his brother in Cliffside Park before moving to apartments in Weehawken and Jersey City.
Yvette and Allen may have met bowling, but soon they were golfing, too. Alejandro taught her so they could play together in his weekend leagues, such as the Kabayan Golf Club. The metro area club held a memorial tournament at Meadows Golf Club in Lincoln Park in his honor in September 2021.
“I’d just follow his lead all the time, so we could do things together,” Yvette said.
Alejandro had four children, two with Yvette, and six grandchildren. He joined Masonic lodges in New York and New Jersey, and financed his grammar school and high school reunions back in the Philippines. At home, he could often be found watching a Manny Pacquiao fight or an action movie. For balance, he would sit with a crossword puzzle or sudoku table.
“Every person that he met, he instilled something positive in them,” Yvette said. “I’m happy to be his wife because of the mark he left on so many people.”
When the family bought a house in Orlando in 2004, he started riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle with friends along Florida’s famously flat and straight roads.
“He had been wanting a motorcycle, and I finally agreed,” his wife said.
The family then moved to a Cliffside Park apartment complex in 2006, where he worked as the building superintendent. In 2015, he and Yvette also invested in a condo in the Philippines.
In 2018, they moved to Lodi. Alejandro, who retired the next year, planned to spend most of his time there following the pandemic. He never had the opportunity.
Alejandro died on Nov. 26, 2020. He was 69.