Community activist Maureen L. Ortagus dies

Historic City News has learned that a frequent speaker at local government meetings, caller to radio talk shows and opinionated commenter on various Internet discussion forums, 50 year-old Maureen L. Ortagus, who lived at 1445 Masters Drive in St. Augustine, has died after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Ortagus’ death was announced today by the obituary website, although, according to a funeral home announcement, she actually died October 21, 2011, while receiving end-of-life care at the Bailey Family Center for Caring in St. Augustine.

Born December 17, 1960 in Peoria Illinois, Ortagus moved to St. Augustine and attended public schools — graduating from Ketterlinus Junior High School in 1976 and later from St. Augustine High School.

In January 2008, she started a small, home-based business, Public Image Consulting Group.

She was a freelance photographer and volunteered her services to a few St. Augustine organizations; publishing many of her photographs in the free user-galleries provided by the St. Augustine Record on their website.

She is survived by her father, 77 year-old Lloyd J. “Jack” Kille of Peoria, her mother, 73 year-old Sharon D. Buckley of Ocala, stepbrothers, 47 year-old David Todd Buckley, of Peoria, and 41 year-old Terry Duane Buckley Jr., of Ocala, as well as her friends and her beloved animals.

Ortagus outlived her other stepbrother, Craig Alan Buckley, of Ocala; who died in a fight over a fishing spot on the Claude Varn Bridge in Crescent Beach in 2001 at the age of 35. Ortagus went public, four years later, with controversial support for her three stepbrothers — who, according to several witness’s testimony in court, instigated the fight by pulling a knife, using a racial slur against the two black men, and demanding that they move from their fishing spot on the bridge.

Final arrangements were entrusted to Craig Funeral Home. A private memorial service was conducted by family and friends.

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