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HomeNewsArchivesLONGTIME RESIDENT MITZI HENNE DIED ON FEB. 14

LONGTIME RESIDENT MITZI HENNE DIED ON FEB. 14

Feb. 25, 2004 – Although Mitzi Henne and her husband, Harvey, left St. Thomas nearly seven years ago to settle into retirement in Florida, the island remained her home, and her ashes will be returned to the territory to be scattered at sea.
She died of cardiac arrest on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Northwest Hospital in Margate, Fla. She was 82.
The Hennes lived on St. Thomas from 1968 to 1997 before relocating to Coconut Creek, Fla.
Mitzi Henne was a registered nurse who had worked at the Jersey City Medical Center in New Jersey before moving to the Virgin Islands. On St. Thomas she co-founded, along with the late Leta Cromwell, the Council on Alcoholism St. Thomas-St. John, and served for many years as its executive secretary.
She also was an accomplished entertainer – with her husband accompanying on the piano — and visual artist.
She served as president of the St. Thomas Arts Council, exhibited regularly in its annual Caribbean Colour shows and was actively involved in the Virgin Islands International Film Festival. She also served as secretary of the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas and as president of its Sisterhood.
Her real first name was Marjorie, but "Mitzi" fit her persona. A diminutive blonde, she loved being in the thick of things, especially when celebrities were in town for one cause or another, her husband recalled: "She danced with Burgess Meredith, we went out with Lou Rawls, she cooked for John Patrick at the Mill in Fortuna, and for his houseguest, the Hollywood producer Josh Logan. She was great friends with Leslie Caron."
The Hennes were friends with Olivia and Donald Stanford, too, and Harvey learned shortly after Mitzi's death that Olivia had died just five days earlier, also in Florida.
As a retiree, Mitzi Henne stayed active as both painter and performer — starring in three of Coconut Creek's biannual Follies shows. "It's a small place, about 8,000 people, and there's a theater that seats a thousand," Harvey said. "We could only book it two nights at a time for the Follies." She sang in the 1999, 2001 and 2003 shows. Preparations have begun for the 2005 show, and "everybody wanted to pay tribute to Mitzi," Harvey said.
The couple attended the annual St. Thomas Bacchanal get-togethers in Florida, too — weekend social events held around the same time as V.I. Carnival, drawing several hundred former residents to share in island food, drink, talk, music and memories. At the 2001 gathering on Singer Island, Mitzi took along some of her paintings and set up an impromptu exhibition.
They didn't make it to last year's event, because "Mitzi wasn't up to it," Harvey said. When the Bacchanal organizers learned of her death, they sent out an e-mail "asking people to make a donation to their favorite charity in her name." In the days since, he said, he has received notice of "about 75 gifts — to the Cancer Society, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, religious organizations, all sorts of groups."
John Jowers, a longtime family friend and recently retired as executive director of the V.I. Council on the Arts, noted that one of her paintings was exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. And "as a singer and entertainer, Mitzi performed in many island shows," he said.
She continued to paint "right up to the end," Harvey said, and many of her works hang in their home. Another ex-St. Thomas resident, Mikki Belvedere, "lives next door to us," he said, and "she was over here visiting and bought two of them off the walls — a scene of Coki Beach and one of the round tower at Tillett Gardens."
Mitzi Henne is survived by her husband, Harvey; daughters Robin Glass and Susan Turner; sons Jeffery Danneman and David Holstein; son-in-law Jonathon Glass; grandchildren Sara and Adam Glass, Daria Charles, and Cassia and Justin Roxas; and great-grandchildren Devash and Anthony Charles.
A number of family members were with her at her death, and afterward "we decided to give her a send-off," Harvey Henne said. "All my children were here. My son David is a caterer. We had 60 to 70 people at the house. I played two of her favorite songs on the piano — 'As Long as He Needs Me' and her signature song, 'Scotch and Soda.' We celebrated her in life by doing what she loved — entertaining."
A decision is pending on whether to hold a memorial service on St. Thomas.
"But we will scatter her ashes between St. Thomas and Tortola — we have very dear friends there, too," Harvey Henne said.

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Feb. 25, 2004 - Although Mitzi Henne and her husband, Harvey, left St. Thomas nearly seven years ago to settle into retirement in Florida, the island remained her home, and her ashes will be returned to the territory to be scattered at sea.
She died of cardiac arrest on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Northwest Hospital in Margate, Fla. She was 82.
The Hennes lived on St. Thomas from 1968 to 1997 before relocating to Coconut Creek, Fla.
Mitzi Henne was a registered nurse who had worked at the Jersey City Medical Center in New Jersey before moving to the Virgin Islands. On St. Thomas she co-founded, along with the late Leta Cromwell, the Council on Alcoholism St. Thomas-St. John, and served for many years as its executive secretary.
She also was an accomplished entertainer – with her husband accompanying on the piano -- and visual artist.
She served as president of the St. Thomas Arts Council, exhibited regularly in its annual Caribbean Colour shows and was actively involved in the Virgin Islands International Film Festival. She also served as secretary of the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas and as president of its Sisterhood.
Her real first name was Marjorie, but "Mitzi" fit her persona. A diminutive blonde, she loved being in the thick of things, especially when celebrities were in town for one cause or another, her husband recalled: "She danced with Burgess Meredith, we went out with Lou Rawls, she cooked for John Patrick at the Mill in Fortuna, and for his houseguest, the Hollywood producer Josh Logan. She was great friends with Leslie Caron."
The Hennes were friends with Olivia and Donald Stanford, too, and Harvey learned shortly after Mitzi's death that Olivia had died just five days earlier, also in Florida.
As a retiree, Mitzi Henne stayed active as both painter and performer -- starring in three of Coconut Creek's biannual Follies shows. "It's a small place, about 8,000 people, and there's a theater that seats a thousand," Harvey said. "We could only book it two nights at a time for the Follies." She sang in the 1999, 2001 and 2003 shows. Preparations have begun for the 2005 show, and "everybody wanted to pay tribute to Mitzi," Harvey said.
The couple attended the annual St. Thomas Bacchanal get-togethers in Florida, too -- weekend social events held around the same time as V.I. Carnival, drawing several hundred former residents to share in island food, drink, talk, music and memories. At the 2001 gathering on Singer Island, Mitzi took along some of her paintings and set up an impromptu exhibition.
They didn't make it to last year's event, because "Mitzi wasn't up to it," Harvey said. When the Bacchanal organizers learned of her death, they sent out an e-mail "asking people to make a donation to their favorite charity in her name." In the days since, he said, he has received notice of "about 75 gifts -- to the Cancer Society, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, religious organizations, all sorts of groups."
John Jowers, a longtime family friend and recently retired as executive director of the V.I. Council on the Arts, noted that one of her paintings was exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. And "as a singer and entertainer, Mitzi performed in many island shows," he said.
She continued to paint "right up to the end," Harvey said, and many of her works hang in their home. Another ex-St. Thomas resident, Mikki Belvedere, "lives next door to us," he said, and "she was over here visiting and bought two of them off the walls -- a scene of Coki Beach and one of the round tower at Tillett Gardens."
Mitzi Henne is survived by her husband, Harvey; daughters Robin Glass and Susan Turner; sons Jeffery Danneman and David Holstein; son-in-law Jonathon Glass; grandchildren Sara and Adam Glass, Daria Charles, and Cassia and Justin Roxas; and great-grandchildren Devash and Anthony Charles.
A number of family members were with her at her death, and afterward "we decided to give her a send-off," Harvey Henne said. "All my children were here. My son David is a caterer. We had 60 to 70 people at the house. I played two of her favorite songs on the piano -- 'As Long as He Needs Me' and her signature song, 'Scotch and Soda.' We celebrated her in life by doing what she loved -- entertaining."
A decision is pending on whether to hold a memorial service on St. Thomas.
"But we will scatter her ashes between St. Thomas and Tortola -- we have very dear friends there, too," Harvey Henne said.