In memory of
Rhona Suzanne (Hellenbrecht) Heyl
North Stonington - Rhona Suzanne (Hellenbrecht) Heyl, beloved daughter, sister and friend, died unexpectedly Aug. 8, 2020, at her home in North Stonington. Our talented, creative, hard-working, organized, efficient and beautiful daughter found this moment too difficult and took her own life. She leaves countless family and friends stunned and deeply bereft. Friends and family will remember Rhona for her "sparkle," as one old friend put it, her willingness to pitch in on any project, her many civic contributions, her competitive sailing skills and her seemingly effortless ability to organize amazing parties at a moment's notice. Rhona was a past president of the Mystic Rotary Club and past president of the board of trustees of the Mystic and Noank Library. She was an active member of the Stonington Garden Club, one of the weekly weeders who maintained the children's garden in Stonington, among many other activities she supported. As a member of the Off Soundings Club and the Mystic River Mudheads Sailing Association, Rhona raced aboard "Sans Souci," an Ensign skippered by Ted Parker. She also crewed on "Barfly," a J/24, skippered by Rob Lambert out of Jamestown, R.I. She began her sailing career as a pre-teen, Frostbiting with her dad in Penguins at the Thames Yacht Club, she became the best foredeck crew ever aboard "Hellion," the family's Morgan 27 sailboat, during the 1970s and 1980s. Professionally, Rhona was a Certified Financial Planner®, most recently working for Zeiders Enterprises, Inc., providing financial counseling to members of the Connecticut National Guard, helping them plan for their financial futures - from helping new military members learn how to budget to assisting seasoned members with plans for retirement. As a Coast Guard spouse for 13 years, Rhona lived in Connecticut, Haiti, Washington, D.C., Long Island and Key West. During that time, she served as a vice president at J.P. Morgan in New York and assistant vice president of Lehman Brothers in Boston. As an independent consultant, she led the team that established the first customer relationship management program at Prudential Financial in Newark, N.J. Rhona graduated from Wheeler High School. She earned a BA in French from the University of Connecticut and a MA in international management at the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) in Phoenix, Ariz. Rhona was born Jan. 17, 1963. She is survived by her mother and stepfather, Shannon and Roger Santora of Venice, Fla.; father and stepmother, Edward Hellenbrecht and Renee Beaulieu of New London; brother Michael Hellenbrecht of White Plains, N.Y.; and sister Renee Hellenbrecht of Cambridge, Mass.; stepsisters, Sandra Levine and Mara Simoneau, both of Waterford; stepdaughters, Taylor Muric of Falmouth, Mass. and Lesley Heyl of Norton, Mass. She is also survived by lifelong friends, "sisters of another mother," Lisa Szaro of Westerly and Nancy Free of Groton; and her companion, John Tregenza of Avondale, R.I. Because of restrictions for social distancing, the funeral and burial at sea will be private. The family plans to have a Celebration of Life, when we can once again meet in large groups. We are optimistic and hoping that will be next spring. In lieu of flowers, donations can be directed to The Stonington Garden Club in memory of Rhona Heyl. The Stonington Garden Club is a non-profit organization to which Rhona generously donated her time and talents. Donations may be mailed to The Stonington Garden Club P.O. Box 385 Stonington, CT 06378. Donations may also be sent to the Brian Dagle Foundation, dedicated to the healing of grieving adults as well as community education on suicide prevention and awareness. Brian's Healing Hearts, 461 Main Street, Niantic, CT 06357.
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