Cover photo for Allegra Torrey's Obituary
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1944 Allegra 2024

Allegra Torrey

February 5, 1944 — April 13, 2024

Allegra Standing Mertz Torrey (Leggie) passed away 13 April 2024 in Newport, RI. Leggie was born 5 February 1944 in Miami, FL to James McClenahan Mertz and Allegra Knapp Brickell Mertz, each legendary in the yacht racing world. Her mother was a four-time Women's North American Champion; her father, on the winning boat Argyll in 1950, holds the participation record for the Newport Bermuda Race (30 races, 1940-2004)...

Leggie spent her childhood in Rye, NY. At American Yacht Club, she sailed Blue Jays (notably #94 Rosy Future) in the sailing programme. Leggie won the JAYC Junior Championship in 1961. After graduating from Rye High School in 1962, Leggie attended Vassar College before moving to New York City, where she worked at the New York Junior League's International Children's School; then at Compugraphic.

Leggie was married to Olympic sailing medalist Owen Cates Torrey Jr from August 1970 until he passed away in February 2001. The couple moved from New York City to South Norwalk, CT in 1976, where Leggie worked at MBI as a valued member of their Customer Service team. She retired in October 2019 and moved to Middletown, RI in March 2020.

While many think of Leggie as the 'grande dame' of race committees, which she was, as a member of the American Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, and Storm Trysail Club Race Committees; Leggie was an accomplished sailor in her own right. Leggie reigned over the American Yacht Club Spring and Fall Series on the race committee for as long as anyone can remember, as well as at other marquee events--Premier Racing's Key West Race Week, Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week; and she also travelled Down Under every August for many years to be timekeeper for Hamilton Island Race Week on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Leggie wrote the book on timekeeping and other procedural aspects of race management. Hers was the 'gold standard' of race committee excellence and precision, and she was incredibly generous in sharing her knowledge, experience, and expertise with others. She was a mentor to so many who served on the American Yacht Club Race Committee, as well as to those on the other race committees on which she served.

Leggie was committed to American Yacht Club on other levels, including prominent roles on the Fine Arts Committee since its inception, and on the Membership Committee. She also served twice on the Board of Trustees, Class of 1999 and of 2005. She cared greatly about the Club and its membership, was a keen observer of all goings-on, and did not hesitate to ask probing but insightful questions.

She was humble and willing to laugh at her own expense. Leggie told the American Yacht Club Commodore last year that she planned to nap in her car after one event and prior to meeting some friends for dinner as she now lived in Newport and could not just go home before dinner--if the staff expressed concern it was strange to see a lady sleeping in the car park, not to worry, it was her. She then followed that up with a hearty Leggie chuckle, that familiar chuckle which will bring a smile to the face of anyone who knew her. Leggie's dedication to the sport of yacht racing and her high skill level and guidance were rare, but an inspiration to all.

Leggie was survived by her stepchildren Owen Cates Torrey III, Ellen McChesney Torrey, and Emily Southard Torrey; her brother James Bain Brickell Jr and sister-in-law Susan Carver Brickell; and their children Kimberly Brickell Frank, Meredith Brickell, and Diana M Brickell.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, 11 July 2024, 15:00-18:30 EDT at American Yacht Club in Rye, NY. Please RSVP to leggie.rsvp@gmail.com.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in memory of Allegra Mertz Torrey to Mystic Seaport Museum or Newport Preservation Society.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Allegra Torrey, please visit our flower store.
In memory of Allegra Torrey, please consider making a donation to one of the following charities:

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Celebration of Life

Thursday, July 11, 2024

3:00 - 6:00 pm

American Yacht Club

499 Stuyvesant Ave, Rye, NY

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Celebration of Life

Thursday, July 11, 2024

3:00 - 6:00 pm

American Yacht Club

499 Stuyvesant Ave, Rye, NY

American Yacht Club
Rye, New York

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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