Brig. Gen. Staryl C. Austin, Jr.
September 16, 1920 - January 1, 2015
With gratitude for his life of dedication to family, church and country, the family of Staryl Austin announces his passing in Salem, at age 94, after an extended illness.
Staryl was born in Condon, Oregon, later moving to Bend, then Albany before his family arrived in Salem in 1929. He graduated from Salem High School in 1938. He developed an interest in flying from an early age, and at age 21 enlisted in the Army Air Corps; after early training as an airplane mechanic he was accepted into flight school. Staryl became a pilot trainer, then was sent to the European theater in 1944 where he flew 58 missions as a P-47 pilot, including air support for the Battle of the Bulge. Upon returning to Salem after V-E day he married his sweetheart, Jacqueline Judd, whom he had met several years earlier while picking strawberries. Staryl soon joined the fledgling Oklahoma Air National Guard, moving with Jackie to Tulsa, where he attended the Spartan School of Engineering. Recalled to active duty during the Korean War, the couple moved to France where he was stationed, giving them the opportunity to explore much of Western Europe when not on duty.
Staryl joined the Oregon Air National Guard in 1953, commanding the 142nd Fighter Interceptor Group. He and Jackie settled in Portland, where sons Steve and Andy were born, then moved to Salem in 1958 after Staryl was assigned to the Oregon Military Department Headquarters. In 1963 he was promoted to Brigadier General and was appointed Assistant Adjutant General. In 1973 Staryl became the first Air National Guard officer to be appointed Deputy Adjutant General of Oregon, a position he held until his military retirement in 1981. He was respected and loved by those who worked under him, and he was proud to be the second U. S. Air National Guard recipient of the Order of the Sword, a special program where noncommissioned officers of a command honor individuals they hold in high esteem.
During his 40-year military career he was also awarded the USAF Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and many other honors, but his true bliss was always flying. In retirement he was active with the P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association and the National Guard Association. In 2007 he was inducted into the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor, located at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville.
Staryl's second career began in 1981 when he was appointed by Gov. Atiyeh as Director of the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs. He took on the difficult challenge of restoring financial stability to the Veteran's Home Loan program and succeeded in laying the foundation for today's thriving ODVA. In 1984 he again "retired", but remained active in a volunteer capacity, serving on the Governor's Veterans' Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors for the Veterans Care Centers of Oregon, and lobbying the Oregon Legislature on behalf of Oregon veterans.
Staryl was a longtime member of the First Christian Church of Salem, and served his congregation in many capacities including trustee and board chairman. His faith, though not often expressed openly, surely guided his personality, his leadership style, his love of family and his everyday decisions. Staryl also contributed his administrative and leadership skills as a Boy Scout volunteer, working at the district and council levels, for which he was given the Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope awards for distinguished service.
In retirement, besides his volunteer service, Staryl enjoyed car and household projects, reading airplane magazines, and was particularly fond of doting on his two grandsons. He is surely missed by family and friends across the country.
Staryl was preceded in death by his parents, Staryl (Sr.) and Mabel Austin, brother William and sisters Juanita Barnes and Rosemary Downing. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Jacqueline, sons Steven and Andrew, daughter-in-law Kathy, grandsons Andrew Van Den Bos and Treyvor Austin, brother Charles, and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
An interment service with military honors will be held on Saturday, January 10 at 10:00 AM at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. A memorial service will follow at 1:00 PM at the First Christian Church in Salem. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Salem First Christian Church Memorial Fund or the Oregon Veterans' Home in The Dalles. Arrangements by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.
Published in The Statesman Journal on Jan. 7, 2015.