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Benjamin J. Augustine, professional dancer Jan. 12, 1933 -- March 14, 2006

Benjamin J. Augustine, a championship dancer and local dance studio director, died of pulmonary disease Tuesday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Town of Tonawanda. He was 73.

The Buffalo native was educated in area schools and spent much of his life as a professional dancer and dance instructor.

Mr. Augustine got hooked on dancing after attending classes at a Fred Astaire studio as a young man. He won a championship in the Latin division as a professional dancer.

He began instructing more than 40 years ago, managing a Xavier Cougat dance school and then an Arthur Murray studio.

He opened his own school, American Dance Studio, on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda 27 years ago. The studio moved to Union Road in Cheektowaga last fall.

Mr. Augustine also enjoyed reading and was a fan of football and boxing.

Survivors include a daughter, Catherine of Colorado, and a longtime companion, Barbara Swiatek of Cheektowaga.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Saturday in St. Barnabas Catholic Church, 2049 George Urban Blvd., Depew, after prayers at 8:45 in Pacer Funeral Home, 2275 George Urban Blvd., Depew. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Cheektowaga.

[TOKASZ]

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