David E. Van Allen, a longtime resident of Oak Bluffs and Malden, died at the Royal Nursing Center in Falmouth on Tuesday, May 3. He was 75.

David was born and raised in Boston, the son of Charles and Helen Enos Van Allen. As a youth, Dave won several medals swimming for Roxbury’s Boys & Girls Club.1958 graduate of Boston Technical High School, David continued his education at Boston University, graduating in 1963 with a degree in aeronautical engineering.

While in college, David worked at Paul Parks and Associates, a minority-owned engineering firm. After graduation, he worked as a design engineer at the United Shoe Machinery Corporation before joining the Polaroid Corporation in 1966. In 1994, David was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and he retired from Polaroid in 1998 as senior principal engineer after 32 years of service. During his tenure at Polaroid, David was granted several design patents in his name.

As a teenager, David spent summers on Martha’s Vineyard with Lucille Lippman, a family member who owned a home across the street from the Oak Bluffs tennis courts. He also spent several summers living with Sen. Edward W. Brooke and the Brooke family. One of David’s favorite activities as a youth was coin diving with his buddies—each day meeting boats at the Steamship Authority dock and asking passengers “How about a coin?”

While on Martha’s Vineyard, David met and later married Lee Jackson, whose family own the historic inn, Shearer Cottage. David and Lee raised their family in Malden and spent their summers in Oak Bluffs.

While at Boston University, David pledged the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and served as Basileus of Gamma Chapter. Wanting to give back to his community, David sat on several boards, including the Malden planning board for 33 years, serving as chairman for 21 years; the Malden Public Library board of trustees for 17 years; and Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts board for six years. David was appointed to the Martha’s Vineyard Planning Commission in 1977 by Gov. Michael Dukakis and sworn in by Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill.

An avid racquetball, squash and tennis player, for 20 years David participated in the annual Mary Tucker Invitational Tennis Tournament, which he won in 1980. He also played doubles in the Oak Bluffs Tennis Tournament for many years. Dave enjoyed playing games of strategy, including chess, backgammon, mancala, Mastermind, tournament bridge, whist and Go. He loved listening to music and taking photos of his family and friends. A true engineer, David was always building or fixing something and working on his homes in Malden and Martha’s Vineyard, as well as the homes of friends and family.

David is survived by his wife, Lee Jackson Van Allen; his five children: David, Jr., Loren, Eric, Mark and Kevin; several grandchildren: Marques, Marcus, Maxwell, Camille, Kendall, Kennedi, Oren and Jared; his siblings: Charles Van Allen, Carole Washington, Bruce Van Allen, Emily Thomas, Denise Van Allen and Michelle Johnson; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. A private memorial service and celebration of his life is planned for later in May.