WWI Snapshot: Augustine Watchman Rieger 1885-1933

NC WWI Service Card

Augustine “Gus” Watchman Rieger was born in Southport, NC, on August 6, 1885. At the time of the 1900 Census, he and his family were living in Town Creek. His father was a lawyer and owned a rice farm.

Gus was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1905, graduating in 1909. This photo was printed in the 1909 yearbook Lucky Bag on page 188.

During WWI, he served as a Lieutenant commander at the Naval Academy.

His retirement was listed in the September 4, 1931, issue of the Evening Star of Washington D.C. on page 16.

Augustine Watchman Rieger died suddenly on April 23, 1933, as detailed below.


Heart Attack Fatal to Retired Naval Officer While in Machine

A heart attack suffered as he drove his automobile along Connecticut avenue late Saturday night was fatal to Comdr. Augustine W. Rieger, U.S.N., retired, 47, who was found dead in his automobile early yesterday.

Lights Still Burning
The car apparently had been hastily parked in a restricted zone just north of Taft Bridge, and the lights still were burning when the body was discovered by Sergt. W.P. Barnes of the eighth precinct, cruising in a police car. Dr. O.C. Foote, 5112 Connecticut avenue, the retired officer’s physician and close friend, said Comdr. Rieger had been under his care since his retirement because of heart trouble in 1931. He said he believed the officer had been dead at least six hours when found. A certificate of death from natural causes was issued by Acting Coroner A. Magruder MacDonald.

Comdr. Rieger was last seen Saturday night by relatives and an elevator boy at the Dupont Apartments, 1717 Twentieth street, where he lived.

Funeral services will be held at St. Alban’s Church at 2 p.m. tomorrow, with Rev. Charles T. Warner officiating. Burial, with full military honors, will be in Arlington National Cemetery.

Was Memphis Navigator
Comdr. Rieger’s last station was aboard the U.S.S. Memphis as navigator. Prior to that he had had an active sea career as well as of an executive ashore. During the World War he was stationed at the Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1909. He was a North Carolina native.

He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Sarah T. Rieger; a sister, Miss Florence M. Rieger, both of the Twentieth street address, and another sister, Mrs. H.J. Stockum of Baltimore.
Source: Evening Star (Washington, D.C.) 24 April 1933, p. A-9

Source: Findagrave
Augustine Watchman Rieger was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. His headstone is shown here.

The family headstone may be found in Old Smithville Cemetery in Southport, where his parents and one sister were laid to rest.

His mother’s obituary in the Evening Star (Washington, D.C.) December 5, 1937, p. A-21, details the family’s history of military service. Click to enlarge.

To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Augustine Watchman Rieger or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
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How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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