Determined to Follow Father
Graduates of the Bronx High School of Science generally do not enlist in the Marines, but Christian Regenhard, 28, resisted easy categorization. He was determined, said his mother, Sally Regenhard, to follow his father into the elite branch of the armed forces, despite a 146 IQ and an array of artistic talents.
Mrs. Regenhard "practically had a nervous breakdown" when Christian announced his intentions, a week before his 19th birthday. But his military accomplishments, and the medals to prove it, are now among her proudest memories.
After his discharge, Mr. Regenhard spent a year at San Francisco State University, studying art and trying writing. But he continued with the daring pursuits he had learned in the Marines: rock-climbing, scuba diving, running marathons, traveling ‹ and disappointing a parade of women.
"He was a babe magnet," Mrs. Regenhard said. "He spoke the language of love."
In January, Mr. Regenhard, the son of a retired police detective, again chose the adventurous route and joined the Fire Department. The long shifts on duty alternated with extra days off and time to pursue his art and his climbing.
Mr. Regenhard was still a "proby" on Sept. 11, assigned to Ladder Company 131 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, which shares a firehouse with Engine Company 279. He was covering for someone in the engine company that morning, his mother said.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 16, 2001.
REGENHARD-Christian Michael Otto. Age 28. FDNY. Missing since responding to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Christian graduated from the Fire Academy on July 27, 2001. He was a Firefighter for six weeks. Born and raised in Co-op City, Bronx, he graduated from the Bronx H.S. of Science in 1991. Christian enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on his 19th birthday and after five years of distinguished service, earned the rank of Sergeant. He received twelve medals and awards for excellence during his career including The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal. His extensive travels and adventures took him to 22 countries around the world. He had a great love for rock climbing and traveled extensively to South America where he acquired a great affinity for the people, culture and language. An artist, writer, athlete, humanitarian and environmentalist, he was a thoughtful and compassionate person, greatly admired and loved by all who knew him. His great magnetism as a human being attracted people of all ages and cultures to his friendship. A beautiful person in body, mind and spirit, his charm, good looks, humor and sincerity bonded people to him wherever he went. He worked for too short a time at Ladder 131, Engine 279, Red Hook Firehouse, Red Hook, Brooklyn. His brother firefighters agreed that they never met anyone like Christian Regenhard. He leaves behind legions of shocked and heartbroken friends and relatives all over the world. He was the loving son of Sally Regenhard and Det. Sgt. Al Regenhard, who retired after 39 years on the NYPD on the same day that Christian was appointed to the FDNY, and the treasured brother of Christina Regenhard. Loving nephew of Kevin and Evelyn Regenhard and Maureen Laughlin. Treasured godfather to Nicole Neri and loving cousin to the Doherty, Laughlin, Mahon and Hyman families. In Ireland, greatly missed by the Kelleher, O'Connor and Mahon families. Memorial Mass Friday, October 26, 2001 at 9:30 am at the Cathedral of St. Patrick, 50th Street & 5th Ave., NYC. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Christina Regenhard, administrator for The Christian Michael Otto Regenhard Fund for Justice, Humanity and the Environment c/o P.O. Box 70, Woodlawn Station, Bronx, N.Y. 10470.
Paid notice pulbished in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 24, 2001.