Werner Hengst, 79, Co-Founder of Our Montessori School

Werner Hengst of Somers died at home on Sunday, Feb. 7, surrounded by his family, from complications of diabetes. He was 79 years old. Werner was the co-founder and administrator of Our Montessori School in Yorktown Heights, as well as a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend to many.

Werner was born in 1936 in Lübeck, Germany, to Gerhard and Emma Hengst. His father worked on the rocket program with Wernher von Braun, which brought the family to Cape Canaveral, Fla. in 1952. While attending University of Florida, Werner met his future wife, Betty. They were married in 1963 in Atlanta and afterwards took a three-month honeymoon around the world. Werner worked at a missile tracking station on Ascension Island for Pan American in Cape Canaveral, Fla., as a systems analyst for TRW in Washington D.C., and then was hired by IBM as a manager in White Plains. His wife Betty and he started Our Montessori School in 1972, and in 1986 Werner took early retirement from IBM in order to devote his energy full time to the school.

An avid hiker and sailor, Werner could often be found on his Hobie Cat on the Hudson or hiking the trails in the mountains along the river. More recently he turned his keen observation of nature and people towards writing, and a book of his memoirs, "From Peenemünde to Cape Canaveral, and Beyond" is due to be published and released on Amazon shortly.

Werner will be remembered, among other things, for his sense of humor, philosophical and positive outlook on life, and kindness towards other people.

Werner is survived by his loving wife, Betty; his daughter, Christy, son-in-law, Helmut, and grandchildren, Oliver and Eliza, of Santa Fe, N.M.; and his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Fran and Tom Patterson, nephew, Thomas Ira Patterson, great nephew, Derek Patterson, and great great niece, Paisley Patterso, of Atlanta.

A memorial service is planned for Mr. Hengst this Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Overlook Lodge, 55 Hessian Drive, Highland Falls, in Bear Mountain State Park, from 1 to 4 p.m. There be a 45-minute memorial followed by buffet lunch. RSVP by emailing chengst@nets.com.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the United Latin American Pentecostal Church, in honor of those who helped so much to care for him, 110 Main St. Brewster, NY 10589.

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