Joan Henningsen, 94, ex- President of the Rye Garden Club

Joan Regan Henningsen died Saturday, May 11 at her home in Stony Creek, Conn.

Joan Henningsen
Published June 7, 2024 2:11 PM
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Joan Regan Henningsen of Branford, Conn., formerly of Rye, N.Y., died Saturday, May 11 at her home in Stony Creek, Conn. She was the beloved wife of the late John T. “Jack” Henningsen, to whom she was married for 61 years.

Joan was born at home in Brooklyn on June 16, 1929, the daughter of the late Josephine and Phil Regan, but soon moved to California when her father’s singing and acting career brought him to Hollywood.

She was a graduate of the Mayfield School of the Holy Child. While raising her six children and traveling the world with her husband, Joan earned her journeyman’s and master’s from the famed Isabel O’Neil Studio in Manhattan over 14 years. Her keen eye and innate talent for interior design then led her to studies at The New York School of Interior Design before founding her own successful interior design business, Joan R. Henningsen Interiors, Inc. Later, when Jack bought a real estate agency, they both worked side-by-side to turn Henningsen Real Estate, Inc. into a thriving concern before selling it to Sotheby’s International prior to their retirement.

Always on the run, Joan found time to serve as president of the Women’s Auxiliary of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Harrison, N.Y., and she volunteered at United Hospital for many years through the Rye Twig.

An avid gardener throughout her life, Joan also enjoyed her many years as a member and later president of The Rye Garden Club. Anyone who knew Joan and Jack knew that they could be found either on a tennis court or a paddle tennis court just about every day of the year, where Joan would insist to her dermatologist that she did not tan, her freckles merely grew together.

In her later years, following Jack’s death in 2016, Joan moved to live with her daughter Catharine in Branford. One of her greatest delights was touring the Thimble Islands in summer, second only to finding herself the oldest of four nonagenarians in her neighborhood and receiving the provisional honorary title of “Matriarch of Saw Mill Road.”

Joan is survived by her children, Catharine Henningsen of Branford, Michael Henningsen of Maryland, Ann Henningsen of Stratford, Conn., and Christopher Henningsen (Gina) of Austin, Texas; her sister, Marilyn Sachs of California, and her grandchildren, Lindsey, Brittanny, Jessica, Madden, Kendall, Dillon, Audrey, and James. She was predeceased by her brothers Joseph “Joe” Regan and Phil Regan Jr., “Buddy,” and by sons John T. “Jack” Henningsen Jr., and Mark D. Henningsen, and her grandson, Jackson Henningsen.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. For an online guestbook, please visit www.wsclancy.com.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to:

Carver Center, 400 Westchester Ave., Port Chester, NY 10573

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