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Family finds shark victim's son dead

Published Sep. 27, 2005

Richard Kubinski, 44, dies of an apparent drug overdose in his St. Pete Beach condo, his family says. His father died 12 days ago. The family plans a small service.

Anna Kubinski's children describe her as a consummate worrier, but when she grew concerned about her son Richard on Saturday, her other sons agreed to check on him at his St. Pete Beach condominium.

There, after jimmying the door lock and persuading the building superintendent to unlock the deadbolt, the family found Richard Kubinski, 44, dead of an apparent drug overdose, a brother said.

Kubinski was the son of Thadeus "Ted" Kubinski, who died of a shark attack behind his St. Pete Beach home 12 days ago. His son Richard often boasted that he resembled his 69-year-old father more than any of his four brothers did.

Richard's brother Joseph Kubinski, the oldest of the five Kubinski sons, said the family can only assume that his father's violent death played a role in Richard's state of mind at the time of his death.

"I think it was a bit of a catalyst, but he's had a lot of problems with substance abuse," Joseph Kubinski said. "He was basically following a well-worn path in terms of whenever he's going through stress or whatever, he turns to narcotics."

Less than two weeks ago, it was Richard Kubinski who stayed in his mother's home the day after the shark attack to answer the endlessly ringing telephone and greet florists, reporters and friends at the door.

That day he talked of how his relationship with his father had grown stronger in recent weeks and months. He showed the photos his father had taken over a long career in photography and talked about how proud his father was of his grandchildren.

He also was troubled by how saddened his mother was. "I'm scared for my mom," Richard Kubinski said the day after his father's death. "She said, "Why didn't the shark take us both?' I said, "Mom, you can't talk like that.' "

Joseph Kubinski said his mother was so worried about her son Richard that she asked her daughter-in-law to take him to the condominium, and she was present when family members and the building superintendent opened the door and found her son's body.

"My mother was so distraught and beside herself," Joseph Kubinski said. "She does an awful lot of worrying for all these guys and has never really been able to have her own life."

Richard's death was apparently caused by a drug overdose, his family said. The medical examiner's office said the autopsy will be conducted today, and toxicology reports will not be available for several weeks.

As a matter of routine, St. Pete Beach police are investigating the death.

Mr. Kubinski is survived by the same family members who survived his father's death: his mother, Anna Kubinski, of St. Pete Beach; four brothers, Joseph A., George and Adam, all of Enfield, Conn., and Edward, Clearwater; and three nieces and two nephews.

The family was "blown away," Richard Kubinski said last week, by the outpouring of support at the memorial service for his father. This time, Joseph Kubinski said, the family plans a small service.

"My mother's heart is way too heavy to go through the whole viewing," he said.