Avid sailor Jon L. Ten Haagen found “magic” as the skipper aboard his 34-foot Sabre sailboat — Owls Nest IV — which claimed first place this summer during the Northport Yacht Club Commodore’s Cup.
Bill Fleming of Northport was in Ten Haagen’s five-man crew that beat out about two dozen boats during the race in Huntington Bay in late July.
“He told everyone he was going to win that race. He was the talk of the club. It was magic.” Fleming said Thursday, his voice cracking thinking about his late friend of more than 20 years. “He was thrilled to have won that race.”
Ten Haagen, 76, of Centerport, who was happiest at sea but made a name for himself on land as a financial planner, died Wednesday from complications of a stroke, friends and business associates said.
Ten Haagen in 1993 founded Ten Haagen Financial Services Inc., a financial services firm based in Huntington. For decades, he has been an active member in the North Shore’s business and sailing communities. Ten Haagen was on the board of directors for the Northport Chamber of Commerce and the board of directors for the Townwide Fund of Huntington, was chairman of the Financial Planning Association of Long Island and was a member of the Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs.
“He just belonged to everything,” said Thomasina “Tommie” Michalik of Northport. She described herself as Ten Haagen’s best friend. She, her husband and Ten Haagen were almost inseparable, Michalik said.
“He had no family here,” she said. Ten Haagen was like blood, Michalik said. “He was here for Christmas Eve. He was here for Easter. My grandchildren called him ‘Uncle Jon.’”
Michalik laughed when she retold the story of Ten Haagen winning the Commodore’s Cup only a few weeks ago. “He was like flapping his wings for days.”
Bob Fonti, co-chair of the Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers business organization, has known Ten Haagen for more than two decades. He said what made him an excellent financial planner was he was so professional and thorough. Ten Haagen's clients eventually became his friends, Fonti said.
“He was sort of a hybrid between a financial planner and friend. He was a financial friend you can rely on,” he said. “He serviced your needs not your account. That became personal to him. Your investments became personal to him. He would invest your funds as if it were his funds invested.”
Ten Haagen was tapped by media outlets for his financial expertise including in Newsday, The New York Times and News 12 Long Island.
Rick Betancourt, a business partner with Ten Haagen, will service Ten Haagen's former clients. Betancourt said Ten Haagen had been working for two years to have a succession plan for his business in case of his death.
“He practiced what he preached. We didn’t plan for it to be so soon. But he was prepared,” Betancourt said. He mentioned that Ten Haagen, just last year, became a published author, which had been a longtime goal.
The book is called: “Charting Your Course Toward a Comfortable Retirement.” Two sailboats adorn the book's cover.
Betancourt said Ten Haagen had two passions, sailing and financial planning. And with the latter interest, he advised anyone who needed financial tips.
“Whether you had a $100 or $10 million. He gave you the time of day and would help you,” Betancourt said.
Ten Haagen’s friends and family said he had been married twice and had no children.
According to his obituary at the Nolan Funeral Home's website, Ten Haagen is survived by his brothers, Peter Ten Haagen and Christopher Ten Haagen. He has a nephew, Anthony, and niece, Kristy.
A service for Ten Haagen will be held at the Nolan Funeral Home in Northport at 5 Laurel Ave. on Sunday between 5 and 9 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Huntington Townwide Fund, townwidefund.org.