Raymond Edward Hegner’s “love affair with Montauk took root quite early,” his wife, Joni Hegner, wrote. Raised in the Throgs Neck neighborhood of the Bronx, he tagged along when his father, Teddy, and Uncle Spider Hegner would take the train to Montauk in the 1940s, bound for the fishing docks.
“The irony of these adventures was that little Raymond absolutely hated fishing, but his love of the town became his lifelong passion.”
Known as Big H, Mr. Hegner was a Montauk “real estate icon” for more than 50 years, his wife said. He died on July 22. He was 89 and had kidney disease.
Mr. Hegner was born in the Bronx on June 11, 1934, to Teddy Hegner and the former Helen Gallagher. He had “a lively childhood,” his wife said. After graduating from Evander Childs High School, where he played football, he enlisted in the Army, serving in Colorado Springs. Following his time in the service, he became a New York State trooper, working upstate. “But the pull back to Montauk changed the trajectory of his future,” Ms. Hegner said.
He moved to Huntington in the 1960s, where he worked in the insurance industry, but by the early 1970s he made the move to Montauk. His longtime friend, Frank Tuma Sr., mentored him in the real estate business at the Montauk Improvement Co. and later the Tuma Agency. He eventually started the Hegner Agency.
“Having worked together through the ‘80s,” Mr. Hegner and his future wife, Joan Gallop, then “became partners in business and life,” running their own company, Sea & Sand Realty. They were married on April 16, 2003. In 2005, the company merged with the larger Allan Schneider Associates, which was later acquired by the Corcoran Group.
“Funny thing about being both work and life partners, [it] makes for a 24/7 day together, and I can say in all honesty, every day was filled with laughter and love,” Ms. Hegner wrote. The couple enjoyed a getaway in the Bahamas, visits to family in San Diego, and “strangely enough, the pent-up time during the pandemic is now cherished alone time together.”
Mr. Hegner also worked as an insurance agent through the Townsend Agency in Greenport, used by many Montauk residents to insure their homes, cars, and boats, and “on occasion was paid with delicious fish, dinners, and golf outings!”
A die-hard New York Giants and Yankees fan, he was passionate about sports, and “his rousing siren cheer could easily raise any roof,” his wife wrote. He took up golf with his old friends, John Keeshan, Joey Volpicello, and Frankie Cirillo, and together the “Fearsome Foursome” enjoyed golfing trips around the country.
Mr. Hegner and his first wife, Virginia, had three daughters, Bonnie-Jean (B.J.) Hegner Bowman, who survives, and Lisa Ward and Laura Hegner, who died before him.
In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by his son-in-law, Bobby Bowman, a niece, Chrissy Drobecker of Bradenton, Fla., his wife’s sons, Mike Gallop and Ryan Gallop, and daughter-in-law, Jillian, and by six grandchildren, who knew him as Granpy.
Mr. Hegner was grateful for the “stellar professionalism, care, and support” over the past eight years of the Montauk Fire Department and ambulance squad, and his friends Eddie Stein, Michael Groen, and Mickey Valcich.
His family has suggested donations in his memory to the Montauk Fire Department and ambulance at 12 Flamingo Avenue, Montauk 11954.
A funeral was held last Thursday at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk. Mr. Hegner was buried at Fort Hill Cemetery there.