July 16, 1934 – Jan. 17, 2016
Jennifer Regan, an artist, writer and former wife of Erie County Executive and State Comptroller Edward V. “Ned” Regan, died Jan. 17 from cancer under hospice care in Cambridge, Mass., where she had lived for more than 20 years. She was 81.
Born in Buffalo, the former Jennifer Read attended Orchard Park schools. She was a 1952 graduate of Buffalo Seminary and a 1956 graduate of Smith College. She earned a master’s degree in English literature from the University at Buffalo, where she studied under Leslie Fiedler.
She and Mr. Regan, who were married in 1959, were a young and attractive political couple. During his years as county executive in the 1970s, they were regarded as “Buffalo’s Kennedys.”
In Buffalo, Mrs. Regan wrote poetry and reviewed books for The Buffalo News. She sang with the Schola Cantorum and was active with the Junior Group at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the International Institute, where she appeared in productions of Moliere comedies.
She maintained her ties with Buffalo after she and her husband moved to Katonah in Westchester County in the early 1980s. She was instrumental in establishing the Arts in Education Institute of Western New York, which promoted arts in the schools. She and her husband divorced in 1988. He died in 2014.
In the early 1990s, she moved to Cambridge to be near her children and grandchildren. She was active as a volunteer in the schools and sang in choruses at Harvard University and Radcliffe College.
Mrs. Regan was co-editor, with Miriam Dow, of the 1989 anthology, “The Invisible Enemy: Alcoholism and the Modern Short Story.” In the same year, she also published “American Quilts: A Sampler of Quilts and Their Stories.”
Influenced by Harriet Powers, the former slave who did “story quilts” in the 19th century, she created more than 50 quilt collages, which she called “stitched narratives.” Shown in galleries in the Boston area, their subjects ranged from Fenway Park and other Boston-area sights to Old Testament scenes.
Many of them hang in schools, hospitals, corporate offices and homes on the Eastern seaboard. One of them has been displayed in the entryway at Buffalo Seminary.
Survivors include two daughters, Jane V.B. and Kate R.; a son, Julian M.; two sisters, Wendy Wells and Susan Read; and five grandchildren.
A ceremony of remembrance will be held April 2 in Cambridge.