Cover photo for Donald Allan Regina's Obituary
Donald Allan Regina Profile Photo
1952 Donald 2024

Donald Allan Regina

September 10, 1952 — March 12, 2024

Madison

Donald Allan Regina, age 71, passed away on March 12, 2024, after battling cancer.

Don was born on September 10, 1952, to parents Mary Robinson and Salvatore Regina and was raised in Hartford, Connecticut. He attended Eleanor B. Kennelly and Samuel B. Webb schools and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wethersfield High School. Don majored in English and American Literature at Saint Michael's College and received his Master's in British and American Literature from the University of Wisconsin.

Don was interviewed by the beloved Sr. Kathleen O’Connell OP, who soon became his mentor at Edgewood High School in Madison. This led to a 42-year career in teaching and coaching that began in 1979. Don had a quiet, subtle, and powerful impact on many in the Edgewood community. The name “Mr. Regina” elicits a story, a smile, or a laugh from his former students who “survived” or thrived in his classes. He taught many courses, including British Literature Honors, Sophomore Survey, American Multicultural Literature, Creative Writing, and Journalism.

Don received the Bassett Foundation Teaching Award, which recognized outstanding teachers in the city of Madison, and a Kohl Teacher Fellowship. Don coached Edgewood Cross Country for over 40 years, honored by the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association for his contributions. He also served as the Envoy Student Newspaper Moderator and ran the Ping Pong Club (with a ping pong table greeting students as they entered his classroom). Don enjoyed being with colleagues, including joining his “lunch bunch” friends and tearing up the courts with the infamous Teacher’s Basketball Association he organized. Don looked forward to Fridays at school not only for the doughnuts but also to share his weekly reflection with teachers and staff. With a quiet excitement, Don also greeted students at the Commons door with a school newspaper hot off the press.

In the summers, Don and his friend John Hylkema worked on many carpentry projects together. In his spare time Don enjoyed reading, sitting in the sun on the beach, listening to smooth jazz, and taking ballroom dance lessons at the VFW. Don was honored to serve as a companion with Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Dane County.

Don received letters and visits from teachers and alumni with memories and stories of gratitude. He was a remarkable educator who taught the value of never quitting and putting in hard work to achieve goals. The intensity Don put forth in the classroom matched his expectations to challenge students to reach their true inner selves, allowing their potential to unfold and flourish. In early years of graduation dances, Don was known to be the first of the teachers to ‘rip up’ the dance floor. Don always made sure he was dressed to the nines, and he color-coordinated his outfits with his impressive Vans collection. Every year Don looked forward to wearing his tuxedo while teaching his favorite chapter in Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Don’s infamous overhead projector 10-point quizzes often preceded interactive classes full of debate. Former students ask to this day: “How would Don Regina construct this sentence?”

Don’s legacy among generations of former students and athletes runs wide and deep. Don is survived by his son and daughter in law, his brother Tom (Lynda) Regina, niece Elisabeta (David) Isen. Don is survived and surrounded by love and gratitude from his former students, colleagues, friends – especially his best friend, John (Lorrie) Hylkema, and Heidi Nass along with her daughters, Abigail, Mia and Anna.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Madison. A visitation will be held at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of Mass. Don’s family and friends thank the staff at University Hospitals and Agrace Hospice for their care of Don. A burial service will be at a later date when Don will be buried with his parents in Mount Saint Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield, Connecticut.


Cress Funeral & Cremation Service

3610 Speedway Road, Madison

(608) 238-3434

Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com
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