Simon Segal—whose family fled Cuba for Florida in 1960 when he was a 19-year-old foreign exchange student at Cornell University—was a structural engineer who was beloved by all who knew him. Known for his quick sense of humor and kind demeanor, his youthful energy and his desire to conduct his life with honesty and integrity were trademark ethics that he held dear throughout his entire life, his friends say. He was identified as a victim of the Champlain Towers collapse in Surfside, Fla. on July 12.

Segal, a graduate of Cornell, held a Bachelor in Science of Civil Engineering, two Masters of Science degrees in Management and Finance, and one Master of Business Administration degree from Florida International University. He worked as a professional engineer, specializing in highway and bridge construction, structural engineering and construction management.

In addition, he was a successful real estate agent and mortgage broker. Simon spoke multiple languages, among them: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French.

One of his friends, Isaac Osin, met Simon Segal in the 1960s. The two young men developed a strong bond. In an interview with the Palm Beach Post, Osin described his first impressions of Segal: “He was a little older than us. We were very impressed with him – he had graduated. He was already an engineer and already had a nice car. He was very funny, always with a joke... He fitted in with everybody. He was studious and very smart. He was just a fun guy.”

Segal was a lifelong bachelor, Osin said, and a fixture at events at his synagogue, many of whose members had once lived in Cuba, and was liked by all.

Segal was a life member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and had held memberships in the Florida Engineering Society, National Society of Professional Engineers, Society of American Military Engineers and the Cornell Society of Engineers.