By way of Reno, Richard Sherman "Rick" Smith from Youngstown, Ohio, made Biloxi his home through a job relocation in the casino industry.
The casino security investigator lived in a bungalow just east of St. Michael Catholic Church on Beach Boulevard. The 53-year-old worked and fished.
"That was basically his life," said Jake Istvanditsch. "He was a quiet kind of guy with a good personality. I enjoyed his company."
Smith was all business at work but happy-go-lucky when he was off, said his girlfriend, Annette Libiszewski. The couple met at work at the Isle of Capri in Biloxi. Both left the Isle for Grand Casino Biloxi, where Smith worked for six years.
The couple evacuated for Hurricane Ivan in 2004 but got stuck in traffic in Vicksburg and couldn't find a hotel. They were sitting in a Waffle House when the owners offered to let them ride out the storm in their mobile home. They did, with a total of 13 people.
"Rick said, 'Never again,' " Libiszewski recalled.
"The night I left town for Hurricane Katrina, he walked me to my car, kissed me good-bye and said, 'I love you. I'll either be here when it's over or I won't.' I hope it wasn't bad for him. I hate he had to go like that."