Augustine, Michael (Mickey)

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                                         MICHAEL (MICKEY) AUGUSTINE
                                            By Cathy Carnahan


Red Bank mourns death of its chief

Red Bank First Nation is mourning the sudden loss if its chief, Michael (Mickey) Augustine. The 45-year-old was killed when his car collided with a tractor-trailer near Bouctouche on Monday, November 24.

Funeral services are being held, today, Friday, at St. Thomas Roman Catholic Church in Red Bank at 2 p.m. with a reception to follow in the Metepenagiag school gymnasium.

It is the second tragedy to hit the community in as many months. Veteran councillor Donald Ward, father-in-law to Mickey Augustine, died suddenly on October 11. It’s a tremendous loss for Victoria (Vicky) Augustine, who lost first her father; and now her husband of 24 years. The death of Mickey Augustine came at a particularly poignant time. “Sadly, he died on their anniversary,” said family member Anita Ward-Boyle. “That is just tragic.” Ward-Boyle is a cousin to Mickey Augustine. He was her friend and boss. She works as an economic development and training officer for Red Bank First Nation and worked in Augustine’s administration for about five years.

“Mickey always trusted his staff to carry on and do their work, but was there for guidance and direction. He was a good boss. He was working very hard on social issues in the community…wanting his community to grow stronger. He was also a friend to a lot of people and that is the loss I’m feeling today. He was a guy we grew up with, hung out with, swam with and played with. Mickey was a generous, kind-hearted, caring person. We are expecting a huge mass. There are many, many chiefs coming because he was such a well-respected chief. It’s going to take us some time to bounce back. In a small community it affects everyone, but we will carry on because that is what he’d want,” she said.

Augustine had been chief of the Red Bank First Nation since 1996. He also served as a councillor for three terms prior to that.

Madeline Augustine was a councillor who served with him from 1994 to 1996. “He was just an all-around nice guy. He treated everybody equally. He was the type that wouldn’t hold a grudge, and he was very respectful to his elders,” she said.

Mickey Augustine had a passion for native projects and was an extremely strong advocate for aboriginal rights on taxation, social issues, health and education. He was a board of director for the Union of New Brunswick Indians and a former vice-president and director of health for the same organization. He was a retired director for the Micmac-Maliseet Health Advisory Board in Halifax and a board of director for the Atlantic Policy Congress-the First Nation Chiefs Secretariat. He was a director and president of Eagle Board Trust, director and president of the North Shore Micmac District Council and the Atlantic representative on the Chief’s Forum of Health for the Assembly of First Nations.

“Mickey was extremely busy and extremely well liked by his peers,” said Ward-Boyle. “He was also an athlete and loved sports.”

George Paul, who grew up in the community of Red Bank with Augustine, said, “I feel just sad about the way things happened. He was on the road a lot…and, unfortunately, the road took him.”

Mickey Augustine was on his way home from meetings in Halifax when he died in Monday’s accident about 11 p.m. “He struck a tractor-trailer that was travelling south on Hwy. 11,” said Sgt. Darrell Marchand of the Bouctouche District 5 RCMP. A witness said the car Augustine was driving, an Audi, veered left into the centre of the road and hit the side of the transport, Marchand said. The driver, who was not hurt, reported the same thing.

Though it’s difficult to determine the cause of the accident this early in the investigation, speed is not considered to be a factor, Marchand said. An autopsy wasn’t ordered. A toxicological report is being conducted. Results of the accident investigation might take as long as three weeks, he said.

Mickey Augustine was born May 2, 1958 to Bertha Augustine and the late John Peter Augustine Sr. He was a graduate and star athlete at North and South Esk Regional High School.

He is survived by his wife, Vicky, four children: Tyler, Crystal , Trevor and Trenton, all of Red Bank, plus one grandchild, Travis. He has four sisters: Ina Green and Diane Sacobie of Oromocto, Linda Augustine and Joanne Augustine of Red Bank; plus two brothers, also of Red Bank, John Peter Augustine Jr. and Paul Augustine.


Source: Miramichi Leader – November 28, 2003

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