Widower and Chicago native Richard Augustine recovered from Surfside collapse – Miami Herald

Richard Augustine, left, who perished in the Champlain South Tower condo collapse.
Richard Augustine, left, who perished in the Champlain South Tower condo collapse. Rob Elgas ABC7

Richard “Dick” Augustine returned to Surfside on June 23 from a California trip to visit his son. Then he was immediately packing his bags and getting ready for a trip to Chicago to visit his daughter, Debbie Hill.

She was scheduled to pick him up from the airport the next morning.

Hill saw a video of her father’s building crashing down early that day instead. She told Chicago’s ABC7 that it was a scary sight to see.

“Immediately I tried to call him and his phone went straight to voicemail,” Hill said.

Augustine, 77, lived in the penthouse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside. Miami-Dade Police recovered his body on July 6 from the rubble of the condo tower collapse.

The Chicago native was contemplating retirement from the airline freight industry at the time of the collapse. Hill told CNN that he was in the industry for most of his life and was going to be training someone to replace his position in the fall.

“He had a lot of friends throughout the country, throughout the world. He loved what he did, he enjoyed fishing, he liked to travel,” she said.

A friend of Augustine, Vicki Gillaspy, posted on Facebook about his disappearance. She said he purchased the condo with his late wife Carole before they were married.

The two were married in Las Vegas and photos of them floating at The Venetian Hotel in a gondola captured the joyous day. Carole passed away in 2017 and Dick continued living in their Surfside condo.

Augustine lived with Elaine Sabino, the best friend of his late wife. When she moved into the area for work, he offered her a room in his unit.

He had heart problems and diabetes, so she made sure he kept up with his health, including reminding him about doctor’s appointments and medications. The two were like brother and sister, friends and family have said.

Sabino, 70, was also in the building when it collapsed and police recovered her body on July 6.

Sabino, a University of Florida graduate, was a longtime flight attendant with US Airways and Jet Blue. When US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the Hudson River, Sabino volunteered to help with the rescue mission, said her close friend, Shelly Angle.