My Lunch With Tony

Tony Allerton is a local hero.


When you’re my age, It’s not too often that you get to have lunch with someone 36 years your senior.

It’s a special bonus when that lunch partner is a local legend.

Recently, I had the privilege of dining with Tony Allerton, the longtime leader behind the Crossroads Club, a non profit that has quietly but effectively saved thousands of lives for the past 42 years.

Crossroads helps those in recovery rebuild their lives. Over my 36 years in Delray I have met many people who credit Crossroads with saving them.

In fact, when we dined at Granger’s, a gentleman crossed the restaurant grabbed our check and thanked Tony for a lifetime of good deeds.

Isn’t that cool!?

I thought it was.

Tony and I shared our history together over grilled cheese sandwiches—over the years we’ve had lunches, ribbon cuttings and meetings where we discussed the important work being done at Crossroads.

He told me about coming to Delray in the 1950s and we discussed all the changes we’ve seen, all the people we’ve known and all the mayors he’s worked with.

I loved hearing the stories but more than that I picked up on something extraordinary.

Yes, we talked about the past, but we also talked about the future. That’s where Tony was focused. A golf tournament to raise money for Crossroads, tomorrow’s meetings, future funding sources so he can help more people get their lives on track.

At 95, this wonderful man, with a magnetic smile and energy to burn, was focused on today and tomorrow.

How cool is that? How beautiful and magnificent too.

That’s what legends are made of; optimism, aspiration and an enduring desire to serve others.

Tony Allerton is a treasure. A Delray treasure. We are so lucky to have him.




  1. Marianne Regan says

    Tony is a lovely, lovely man and I have had the pleasure of working with him and experiencing his amazing spirit as a member of the Delray Beach Playhouse Board of Governors. Tony is an Emeritus Member of the Playhouse Board and has another long history with the Playhouse, which is a story for another day! So much of Delray Beach is Tony and vice versa. May blessings continue to flow to him and from him.

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Marianne, Tony spoke glowingly of the playhouse and his many experiences there acting alongside his friend Ernie Simon. Thanks for all you do.

  2. Jeff, your article brings awareness of Tony Allerton. He has done so much for Delray and for so many people. Tony is the example of how one person can change the world. Thank you for reminding us and recognizing Tony. Tom

  3. Tracy Allerton says

    Hi Jeff!

    Thanks for this great story about my dad. Yes, he is an amazing man, such an inspiration, and I am happy and proud that he has served this community so long and so well … I can only hope to follow a portion of his footsteps!

  4. John Davidson says

    Obviously Tony is a local treasure, but I can tell you first-hand that his impact is national (even global). I’ve run into many folks in many locations who credit their ongoing recoveries to their early interactions in-and-around The Crossroads Club.
    His is among the people I am most proud to call “treasured friend.”
    -John D.

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