Michael Regan, 94, of East Hampton, passed away peacefully on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, surrounded by his children.
He was the son of Kate and Michael Regan of Dromore, County Cork, Ireland. His Catholic faith was a centerpiece of his life, and gave him comfort and purpose throughout his days.
He was the youngest of five children. Growing up in Dromore, he always was the inquisitive one, making sure he always got to school on time. He always would talk about riding his bike 12 miles each way to St. Faulkner’s School in Skibbereen — in rain or snow.
His thirst for adventure and life outside his beautiful family farm in Dromore led him to Liverpool, England, where he worked in the police force. In 1953, the faraway lands of America called his name. Making the voyage from Southampton, England, he set sail on the maiden voyage of the USS United States across the Atlantic to America, where he met his soulmate Elizabeth, and set down his roots and raised his family in Riverdale.
Together, they were part of St. Margaret of Cortona parish for more than 30 years.
His career spanned 43 years in the hotel industry, working as a doorman in many upscale hotels in New York City, starting with The Manhattan, The Americana, and finishing his career in the luxurious Helmsley Palace. (The proximity of Helmsley to St. Patrick’s Cathedral was always a plus — he made it a point to stop over at lunchtime every day before going back to work in the hopes of catching Mass with Archbishop John O’Connor.)
At times, one would hear him casually regale his family with his stories of his brushes with celebrities throughout his long career. His intense curiosity and love of music was a constant in his life. One could always find him either sitting in his chair with a cup of tea in hand reading The New York Times from cover to cover, or pulling out his harmonica from his pocket and singing “Danny Boy” or “Down by the Sally Gardens.”
His love of travel back to his beautiful home in Ireland — which he continued to do until he was 90 — was something that never left him throughout his years in America. There was many a time where one could hear him singing the lyrics from the “Isle of Innisfree” that so reflected his love of his homeland:
I’ve met some folks who say that I’m a dreamer
And I’ve no doubt there’s truth in what they say
But sure a body’s bound to be a dreamer
When all the things he loves are far away.
And precious things are dreams onto an exile
They take him o’er the land across the sea
Especially when it happens he’s an exile
From that deal lovely Isle of Innisfree.
He was blessed with a loving family. Once he retired, he and Elizabeth moved out to East Hampton, where they shared their warm loving home with their children and grandchildren. Many a summer was spent on the beautiful beaches of East Hampton, which reminded him of the beauty and peace of County Cork.
He is survived by his four children: Mary Regan, Kathleen Regan (Michael), Finbar Regan (Denise), and Eileen Regan (Jon), as well as his eight grandchildren: Christopher, Alyssa, Katrina, Taylor, Shane, Aidan, Keira and Maeve.
Memorial donations may be made in Michael Regan’s honor to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.