Rena Rowan, the late designer was the fifth and last wife of legendary crooner, Vic Damone who passed aged 89 on February 11, 2018.
Rena Rowan Damone preceded her husband of nearly 20 years when she died back in 2016. The two were married in 1998 and remained together until her death from complications of pneumonia. She was 88. During her lifetime, Rena Rowan Damone was also a cancer survivor and suffered a stroke in 2011. At the time of her death in 2016, she was survived by her four children.
Though he husband, Vic Damone, found fortune and fame as a crooner of romantic ballads –Rena also found great success as a one of the highest-paid women in the U.S. as the lead designer at Jones Apparel Group –the company, whose brands included Jones New York and the Rena Rowan collection, went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1991, according to the WSJ.
Rena Rowan was born Irena Aurelia Jung on Jan. 4, 1928, in Lida, then part of Poland. Along with her mother and sister, she lived in Siberia after Soviet troops invaded during World War II. They later relocated to Iran to join her father. At the time Irena worked as a waitress in a U.S. Army officers club, where as a teenager she met and married an American officer. After the war, she joined him in Philadelphia. They had a daughter but the marriage eventually broke down.
She later married second husband, James Rowan –with whom she had three children, however the marriage also ended in divorce. While being a wife and mother, she juggled a modest modeling career as well as being a saleswoman at a department store in Philadelphia.
Simultaneously, she also sewed custom clothing for society ladies in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood. While working as a designer for Villager Industries Inc.; she met Sidney Kimmel –whom years later became the creator of Jones Apparel. She and Kimmel also developed a romantic bond but they broke up in 1996.
Two years later she and Vic Damone were married, becoming her third husband, and his fifth wife.
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Vic, one of the last remaining crooners of the golden era and who was famously described as having the “best pipes in the business” by Frank Sinatra –was previously married to Pier Angeli, an actress and singer with whom he fathered one son, Perry Damone.
From 1963 – 1971 he was married to Judith Rawlins –the mother of his three daughters: Victoria, Andrea and Daniella. Third wife was entertainer, Becky Ann Jones from 1974 until 1982. In 1987 actress/singer Diahann Carroll became his fourth wife until 1996.
Vic Damone is survived by three daughters and at least six grandchildren.