WESTERLY - R. James "Jim" Austin, 74, passed away on Saturday, April 26, 2014, after an extended illness.
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Jim was born in South Weymouth, Mass. to Ralph and Mary Austin, along with his brothers Robert and Brian, and a sister, Patricia, who predeceased him. At age 15, Jim contracted polio, which left him with a permanent physical disability seldom noticed by others. In 1969, he began a long and happy partnership with his wife Joanne, who sadly predeceased him in January 2013. While working full-time and raising a young child, Jim earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Bentley College in Boston, Mass. He began his successful business career in accounting, later moving his family to Minnesota, and eventually to Rhode Island, where (and) became executive vice president and COO for Bess Eaton Donut Company. Besides being a devoted husband, father, and friend, Jim took pride in his garden, and enjoyed many happy moments with family and friends at Seaside Beach Club and at the Westerly Yacht Club. A lifelong sports enthusiast, his beloved Boston Red Sox continued to provide comfort to him, even during his final days at Westerly Hospital. Jim will be remembered for his warmth, curiosity, sense of humor, and the genuine interest he took in every person he encountered. Although faced with many challenges in his life, he faced them with strength, steadfastness and courage, often stating, "It's not where you are, but how far you've come."
Besides many nieces and nephews, Jim is survived by his daughter, Christine Misto and son-in-law, Louis Misto III; his son, Darren Austin and daughter-in-law, Alycia Mosley; grandsons, Louis Misto IV and Desmond Austin; step-granddaughter, Victoria Misto; and his wonderful friend, Carol Nardone, who was a true blessing to Jim and his family.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Jim's memory may be made to the Westerly Hospital Foundation, 25 Wells St., Westerly, RI 02891. A reception celebrating Jim's life will be held at the Westerly Yacht Club, 1 Watch Hill Road, Westerly on Friday, May 2, beginning at 10:30 a.m. For online condolences, please visit www.gaffneydolanfuneralhome.com.
Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home
59 Spruce St. Westerly, RI 02891
Published in The Westerly Sun on Apr. 30, 2014