Allen Rich, who founded and ran Rich Worldwide Travel of Harrison, N.Y., with his wife, Ina, died in Boynton Beach, Fla., on March 27. He was 86.
The Riches were teachers who got into the travel business in the 1950s by booking student tours, said Richard Esman, their son-in-law. They founded Metric Teen Tours, taking students all over the U.S., Canada and Europe. At one point, they had 3,000 students booked on tours.
In 1980, the couple formed Rich Worldwide Travel, a corporate and leisure travel agency. At its largest, the business had seven offices in New York, Connecticut and Los Angeles, a staff of 150, and a number of independent contractors. It ranked No. 37 on Travel Weekly's 2008 Power List with annual sales of $242 million.
In 2009, Protravel International acquired Rich Worldwide.
The Rich's two daughters, Michele Esman and Donna Devore, grew up in the business. Michele and Donna's husbands, Nathan Devore and Richard Esman, joined the company in 1979 and 1980, respectively.
Rich was active in the travel community, serving as president of the Alliance of Westchester Travel Agents and president of the Hudson Valley Chapter of ASTA.
"Allen had his finger in a lot of pies. He knew this industry and he knew a lot of people in this industry, " said Barbara Colombo, who worked with Rich on industry boards and joined Rich Travel as an independent contractor about 15 years ago.
She described him as a "one-of-a-kind" man famed for his "Allenisms," which were quirky questions and observations he would make about people and life, and as a man who lived by his beliefs.
He was an active member of the Brae Burn Country Club, and was its president for four years. He participated in so many committees that he earned the title of Brae Burn board member emeritus.
He is survived by his wife, his two daughters and sons-in-law, and three grandchildren.