Robert K. Austin died on April 11, 2022 at the age of 99 ½. A man of many skills and talents, he leaves a legacy of love, faith, and service. Born in Wilkes-Barre, PA on September 20, 1922 to Charles and Lucita Austin, he was the youngest of five children.
Lake Nuangola, PA was his favorite place and he spent most summers there. After graduating from Meyers High School in 1940, he worked for a year in the US Navy Hydrographic Office. During WWII he served three-years with the Fourteenth Marines, Fourth Division where he saw combat action on Saipan and Tinian in the South Pacific.
He met the love of his life, Jane Williams of Forty Fort, Pa, on a New Year’s Eve blind date and they married on October 20, 1945. They shared a beautiful marriage for nearly 74 years until Jane’s death in 2019.
After WWII, Bob attended Bucknell University, where he earned both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Education. Bob, Jane and their first child, Susan, moved to Bucks County, Pa where he was a teacher of English, a drama coach, and a guidance counselor. Two more children, Judy and Rob, were added to the family. In 1955 Bob took a job with General Motors as Supervisor of Education and Training in Wilmington, DE,
Bob spent much of his life in service to others. He was an active member of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church where he served in various roles, including Lay Speaker. For 34 years he wrote and produced programs for the St. Mark’s Minstrels to perform at health care and retirement facilities. He was a member and president of the Stanton School Board for 16 years, and a charter member of the Dickinson Theater Organ Society. Bob loved to hear people laugh so he started the clowning program at Christiana Hospital as “Happy, MMD” (Doctor of Mirth and Merriment), where he volunteered for 20 years. He also volunteered at the Kirkwood Library, Habitat for Humanity, and Read Aloud Delaware. I have received the Samuel McKay Award for Faith in Action, Volunteer of the Year Award at the Western Branch YMCA, and twice received The Governor’s Award for Volunteerism. He enjoyed genealogy, early automobiles, writing poetry and authored several books. In recent years he gave frequent lectures and interviews about his war experience and in February he was the subject of an article in the Newark Post.
Bob was preceded by his beloved wife, Jane, his parents, and four siblings. Survivors include his children by him Susan A. Athow (Bob), Vicksburg, MS; Judith G. Austin, Wilmington, DE; and Robert J. Austin (Laura), Oakwood, GA, seven grandchildren, and seventeen great-grandchildren.
Bob’s life will be celebrated on Saturday, April 23, at St. Mark’s UMC, 1700 Limestone Rd, Wilmington, DE 19808. Visitation will be from 9:30-11:00 with a memorial service at 11:00, followed by lunch in Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Mark’s United Methodist Church (designated Food Closet) or Nuangola Union Chapel, c/o Greg Koons, 111 Nuangola Ave, Mountaintop, PA 18707.
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Published by Doherty Funeral Homes, Inc. – Pike Creek on Apr. 15, 2022.