Jon Watson Regen ’56

Jon Watson Regen '56Jon Watson Regen, of Davidson, NC, died unexpectedly on Sunday, January 24, 2016, at the age of 81. He was the son of Kelsey and Jocelyn Regen of Durham, NC. He was a graduate of Durham High School (1952), Davidson College (1956), Duke University (1960) and Union Theological Seminary (1974).

Following a fifteen year career in education, he became a Presbyterian minister, serving the First Presbyterian Church of Martinsville, VA, and Salisbury Presbyterian Church in Midlothian, VA.

In retirement, he enjoyed spending time with his dogs and his family, especially his grandchildren.

He had many fine adventures in exotic locations, including bird banding in the North Atlantic, a peace mission to the Soviet Union, relief work in Haiti, and, at age 70, a motorcycle ride across the United States.

A move to Davidson, NC, in 2006 brought Jon and Barbara home to a beloved community where he volunteered at the Davidson Elementary School library, attended classes at Davidson College, and gave his enthusiastic support to Davidson Wildcat athletics, particularly basketball.

He is survived by his wife of fifty-four years, Barbara; his children, Kelsey Regen of Reston, VA; William and Harriet Regen of Davidson, NC; Suzanne and Rob Grzeszczak, also of Davidson, NC; his eight grandchildren; and his sister, Margot Regen of Mechanicsville, VA. He will be dearly missed by his grandchildren Jocelyn and Hank Grzeszczak, Mary Lang and Jon Regen, and Catherine, Claiborne, Charlotte, and Annie Regen.

A service to celebrate his life is planned for February 27th, at 3 pm at Davidson College Presbyterian Church.

Memorials may be sent to the Kelsey Regen Memorial Scholarship Fund at Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA, or a charity of your choice.

Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home is assisting the family. Friends may offer condolences to the family at

Copyright (c) 2016 The Charlotte Observer

One Reply to “Jon Watson Regen ’56”

  1. As a 1968 Davidson grad (along with my dad and oldest daughter and son), I would like to share a few brief thoughts about another Davidson grad who was a treasured colleague of mine in Presbyterian ministry.
    Although Jon Regen is a little over a decade older than me, we overlapped at Union Seminary in Richmond about the same time because we were engaged in other endeavors for several years before going to seminary (military service for both of us, Davidson staff for Jon). We and our spouses made an immediate connection at seminary in the early 1970’s.
    Jon and Barbara were treasured friends for Nancy and me, and I can honestly say that I am not sure I would have survived my first year or 2 in seminary without them.
    Jon modeled for me what ministry should be about in ways that were not so acceptable in those years – sadly even in the church. One of the biggies was the inclusion of women in the ordained ministry of the church.
    I cannot point to anything specific Jon did, but his demeanor and strong prophetic stance left little doubt where he stood – and where he believed his church and college ought to be. I believe it was folks like Jon Regen who had a huge impact on
    the church ordaining women clergy, elders, and deacons – on Davidson College accepting women students and calling women professors – and finally calling you Madame President
    to lead the college!
    With his modesty and great sense of humor, Jon would laugh about me giving him this much credit.
    Surely Jon is one among many to whom we are indebted! May he rest in peace!
    Richard (Dick) Lindsey

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