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Billy Eugene Austin


1932 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Billy Eugene Austin Obituary
NEWPORT NEWS - Billy Eugene Austin, 85, passed away on December 31, at his home in Newport News. His passing has left his family and friends with immense grief, yet they are comforted in knowing that he is at peace with his Lord and Savior. He was most definitely welcomed into Heaven by his son, Mark, as well as his parents, brothers and sisters who passed before him. Billy was born on June 17, 1932, in Thomaston, Georgia. He grew up with the love of a large family, which included nine brothers and sisters. In the same small town, he met a beautiful girl, Barbara Aileen Hayes, and the two became sweethearts. They married in April of 1952, just weeks before Billy shipped out to fight in the Korean War. During their two years apart, many love letters and photos were exchanged between the two. Billy served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, where he earned two Bronze Stars, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Korean War Service Medal, the United Nations Korean Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Ribbon. Billy returned from Korea and he and Barbara made their home in Newport News. Their family grew with the arrival of their first son, Terry, in 1954. It was during this time, after being offered positions with both Warwick County and Newport News, that Billy began his career with the Newport News Fire Department. The births of Mark and David followed shortly after, and their family was completed with the arrival of their daughter, Lisa. Billy spent 33 years with the Newport News Fire Department, retiring as Captain in 1987. His fellow firefighters (not firemen, as firemen worked on the railroad, according to Dad!) were an extension of his family and he loved them as brothers. After retirement he worked a variety of jobs, but most especially enjoyed his years spent at The Mariners' Museum, where he worked with several of his retired NNFD brothers. After fully retiring in 2009, Billy and Barbara thoroughly enjoyed their time with their granddaughter, Sydney, who was the apple of her Papa's eye. He spent many afternoons picking up Sydney from school, and the two were often found sitting on the front porch enjoying popsicles. In addition to his family and profession, Billy was proud to be a Mason and a member of Parkview United Methodist Church, where he served as an usher and was a member of the Methodist Men. As a young man he was an incredible baseball player and spent many years playing softball on various NNFD teams. He enjoyed working in his yard, grilling outside, old western movies and watching the Atlanta Braves play. He went to bed early and woke up even earlier. He enjoyed many mornings at Hardee's, where he met his buddies for a cup of coffee and conversation. He was solid and dependable, hard-working, protective, loyal, kind-hearted, generous and would do anything for his family. He was greatly loved and will be deeply missed. Preceding him in death are his son, Mark Austin, his sisters Mildred Brunson, Bobbie Payne, Betty Thompson, Frances Buck and Donnie Johnson, his brothers Julius Austin, Jimmy Austin and Gene Austin, as well as his parents Walter and Nobie Austin. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Barbara Hayes Austin, and their children Terry Austin, David Austin and wife Betty Jo, Lisa Kaloustian and "son-in-law" and friend, Jeff Rice, grandchildren Derek Austin and wife Sasha, Jarrod Austin and wife Lorrie, Justin Austin, Ashley Austin, Ian Austin and Sydney Paige Kaloustian, great-grandchildren Emma, Caleb, Logan and Sage, sister Peggy Dawson, as well as his NNFD brothers, friends and neighbors. The family will receive friends at Peninsula Funeral Home on Friday, January 5, 2018 from 6 to 7:30 pm. The funeral service will take place at Peninsula Funeral Home on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 10 am.
Published in Daily Press on Jan. 5, 2018
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