Kenneth Ray Austin of Nacogdoches, Texas, left this earthly realm for his heavenly home on Friday evening, July 19, 2013. He was born in Lufkin, Texas, on Jan. 9, 1943, to George Douglas Austin and Imogene Mooney Austin. He spent his childhood and adolescence in Lufkin, attending school there and graduating from Lufkin High School in 1961. In 1963, while attending Stephen F. Austin State University, he met and fell in love with Sarah Jane Wilson. They started their wonderful journey together when they married June 4, 1965. In 1966, Ken readily joined the United States Air Force
and enjoyed a colorful career for the next 23 years. During his military life, he wore many hats, but the years he was most proud of were the ones he spent as a Missile Combat Crew Commander. His proudest accomplishments were his family and the time he spent with them; his wife of 48 years, Jane; his daughters, April Nichols and Amy Beckham (Bradley); son, Andrew; and grandchildren, Johnny Nichols, Blake and Josie Beckham, and Elizabeth Austin. Ken was a one of a kind, special person who will truly be missed by everyone who knew him. He always had a smile on his face, a joke to tell, and a laugh to lend. He never met a stranger, and was eager to help anyone in need. He loved history and photography, but most of all, his country. Ken is also survived by his brother, Richard Austin (Stacey), their children and grandchildren; and sister-in-law, Ann Crisp, her children and grandchildren. Visitation with Ken's family will be held from 5 until 8 p.m. Monday, July 22, 2013, at Laird Funeral Home in Nacogdoches. His life celebration will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, 2013, at Laird Funeral Home with pastor Michael Parks officiating and burial to follow in New Energy Cemetery, near Crockett, Texas, in Houston County. Pallbearers will be Jarrett Austin, Matthew McDaniel, Taylor Austin, Gaige Mason, Luke McDaniel and Johnny Nichols. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to be made to the Nacogdoches Treatment Center, 119 Hughes Street, Nacogdoches, Texas 75961; or to AFTD â€" Association of Frontotemporal Dementia Organization at www.aftd.org. Laird Funeral Home.