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    'Whatever they did, they did together,' son recalls


    © St. Petersburg Times, published August 31, 2000

    ST. PETE BEACH -- Thadeus and Anna Kubinski emigrated from Poland to the United States, raised five sons and retired to Florida to live the American dream.

    They bought their waterfront home 11 years ago, and while Mr. Kubinski was never much for boating or fishing, he loved to take a swim off his dock.

    Boca Ciega Bay was practically his back yard.

    "I saw him swimming out here all the time," said neighbor Sarah Cassidy, 13, a daily swimmer herself. "We would wave to each other. He was really nice."

    Kubinski, 69, died Wednesday in an apparent shark attack near the end of his dock.

    "It's just a crazy thing that happened," Kubinski's son George, who lives in Connecticut, said Wednesday evening. "It's really crazy. I don't understand. I'm really confused right now."

    Neighbors described Kubinski as a friendly man who would wave to familiar faces but kept mostly to himself. When he spoke, it was with a thick Polish accent.

    Kubinski and his wife, Anna, 67, married in 1950, one of their sons said. They were both born in Poland, but it was unclear when they emigrated to the United States.

    Public records indicate Kubinski often went by "Thadd." He had a hand in several businesses, including real estate, and also recently remodeled his home. He, like nearly everyone in his Belle Vista neighborhood, also benefited from skyrocketing property values along the beach.

    His home, which sold in 1985 for $135,000, is now worth $198,000. Kubinski and his wife were seldom apart.

    "They did a lot of stuff together," said son George Kubinski. "Whatever they did, they did together."

    Although not in the water, Anna Kubinski was only a short distance from her husband when the attack occurred about 10 feet from their dock.

    George Kubinski also said his parents were religious and practiced their Catholicism in Pinellas County.

    On Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the attack, a priest performed the last rites on the Kubinski's dock.

    - Times staff writer Mike Brassfield and researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this report.

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