Augusta "Auggie" Berezowski Messina, former long time resident of Mary Esther, Fla., died on Aug. 19, 2013, in Fairfax, Va., after a valiant fight against breast cancer
. She passed away in her sleep at home, surrounded by her family and loved ones. She was 84 years old.
Mrs. Messina led a fascinating life; after the fall of the Russian Czar in 1917, her family escaped into China where she was born in Harbin (Manchuria) on March 6, 1929. Her father, Peter Berezowski, was a White Russian Cossack and among the soldiers who fought alongside the Czar against the Reds. She lived her formative years in Shanghai and experienced the horrific Japanese occupation of China. She met and married USAF Tech Sgt. John Messina in December, 1948, becoming a U.S. citizen shortly thereafter. Moving to the USA, she lived in Belleville, Ill. (Scott Air Force Base), Biloxi, Miss. (Keesler Air Force Base), San Bernadino, Calif. (Norton Air Force Base) and Wells Next to the Sea, England (Sculthorpe Royal Air Force Base). She moved to the Fort Walton Beach area in 1968, the place she called home.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John, who was tragically killed in a car accident in California (1962), and her long time life partner USAF Senior Master Sgt. (retired) Eugene A. Hinnenkamp, who died in 2011. Her mother, Katherine Vahrusheff, died in 1968 in Belleville, and her father, Peter, died in China (date unknown). She was the youngest of four children; all three of her brothers, Alexander, Vladimir and Benjamin, are now deceased. Her first grandchild, Jody Lee Colrud, died in 2007.
She is survived by her oldest daughter, Catherine Gervasi and husband Nelson Ottenhausen of Gulf Breeze, Fla.; son, Christopher Messina of Atlanta; son, Michael Messina of Lodi, Calif.; and her youngest child, Nancy Messina Crawford and husband Thomas Crawford of Fairfax, with whom she lived since October 2010. Grandchildren include Kelly Messina of Atlanta, Melissa Messina Dudley of Mary Esther, Fla., Angelina Gervasi of St. Augustine, Alicia Gervasi of Crestview, Fla., Arden Spurlin of Fairfax, Davis Spurlin at Radford University, Va.; and her great-grandson, Nicholas Puntillo of East Chicago, Ind. She is also survived by her nephews, Dr. Benjamin Greer and his children of San Ramon, Calif.; Alexander Berezowski and wife Salime, their sons (great-nephews) Alexander and Ivan of the Dominican Republic; her niece, Dr. Katherine Berezowski Herrera and husband Dr. Albert Herrera of Vienna, Va., their daughters (great-nieces), Karla Herrera of New York City and Erika Herrera of San Francisco.
There will be a Roman Catholic Mass held in her honor at St. Andrews the Apostle in Clifton, Va., during the month of September and her ashes will be brought back home to Fort Walton Beach where her remains will be scattered at her favorite place near the Brooks Bridge. Auggie was a loving mother and grandmother, a generous and devoted friend, and a vivacious spirit always full of life and energy.