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Admiral James Austin Yeager

1937 - 2019
Admiral James Austin Yeager Obituary
Admiral James Austin Yeager

Pelham - July 30, 1937 - July 22, 2019

Austin was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on July 30, 1937. He graduated from Auburn University in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering; and received his Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Purdue University in 1966 with a major in geodesy/photogrammetry.

Austin joined the Commissioned Corps in l959. His ship service included the NOAA Ships PIONEER, HODGSON, PEIRCE, McARTHUR, and MT. MITCHELL, having commanded the latter three. He served as Chief, Satellite Triangulation Division; Deputy Associate Director, Office of Marine Surveys and Maps; Director, NOAA Coastal Hazards Program; Deputy and Acting Chief, National Geodetic Surveys; Chief, Nautical Charting Division; Deputy Director, Office of Charting and Geodetic Services; and Director , Office of Marine Operations;

Austin held the rank of Rear Admiral in the NOAA Commissioned Corps. As Director of the Office of Charting and Geodetic Services, National Ocean Service, NOAA, he managed the production of the Nation's nautical and aeronautical charts as well as geodetic products and services. Such products and services are vital to the safe and efficient air and marine transportation and are necessary to meet national geodetic requirements for land use, space, and defense systems.

Austin was a registered Professional Engineer. He was a member of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping; The Hydrographic Society; A Fellow Member and former National Director and President of the Washington, DC, Chapter of the Society of American Military Engineers; and a member of the civil engineering honor fraternity Chi Epsilon. In addition, he served as Chairman of the International Hydrographic Organization's 15-nation Committee on the Exchange of Digital Data.

During his career, Austin received many commendations and awards including the Antarctic Service Medal; Sustained Superior Performance Awards while Commanding Officer of the PEIRCE; Department of Commerce Silver Medal while Chief, Satellite Triangulation Division; Commendation from Director, Defense Mapping Agency for a definitive study on Consolidation of DMA Survey Assets; and Unit Citation while Commanding Officer on Ship McARTHUR.

Austin was a true gentlemen. He was an intelligent, amazing, caring, and loving individual who was liked by everyone who knew him. He was a member of two hunting clubs and loved to fish, golf, play cribbage and poker with Eagle Marsh neighbors. He never lost his temper or sense of humor, and was a wonderful mentor to so many young people including his granddaughters. Prior to moving to Florida, his hobby was making toys from walnut lumber for the boys and girls clubs.

Austin is survived by his wife, Betty (BT) Thompson Yeager, Alderson, WV; two daughters, Paula Yeager Perez (Rigo), and Amanda Yeager Stephey (Todd), Maryland; and two granddaughters, Patricia, Boston, and Carolyn, Maryland. He was also survived by his twin brother, Paul (Clara), and sisters-in-law, Sharon Yeager and Vera Thompson; and brothers-in-law, Ed and Bud Thompson and Jim Fuhrmeister, as well as other dear family members.

He was preceded in death by his Father, Paul L. Yeager, the first Mayor of Pelham, his Mother Willie L. Yeager, former Postmaster of Pelham; and sister Patricia Yeager Fuhrmeister, former Shelby County Probate Judge; and his brother, David W. Yeager, Pelham.

A memorial service will be planned later this fall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Operation Homefront, 1355 Central Parkway S. Ste. 100, San Antonio, TX 78232.
Published in the TC Palm on July 28, 2019
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