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T. Edward AUSTIN

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T. Edward AUSTIN Obituary
AUSTIN T. Edward Ed Austin died peacefully at home on April 23, 2011. He was 84 years old. Austin was an extraordinary public servant who left a lasting impression on all who knew him. A child of the Great Depression, Austin had a humble beginning in Shenandoah, Va. As a high school student, he was a school leader who excelled at both sports and academics. He went on to attend Duke University where he was a star tight-end and graduated with a masters degree in education. After college, he served his country in the U.S. Army where he was a paratrooper and rose to the rank of first lieutenant. He met his wife, Patricia Ann Lynch, when he was hospitalized with an injury and Patricia was working as an Army social worker. They married and had three children: Bridget Austin, Steve Austin (Laurie), Amy Slater (Tom). Austin was the proud grandfather of Katie Paradiso (Dominick), Patrick Price, Michael Price, Shane Price, Maggie Austin, James Austin, Andrew Austin , Sarah Slater, Austin Slater and great grandfather of Paige Paradiso. Patricia, Austin's wife of 39 years died in a tragic car accident in 1996. After his service in the Army, Austin enrolled in law school at the University of Florida and came to Jacksonville to practice law. In 1963 he was appointed by Governor Farris Bryant as the first Public Defender for the Fourth Judicial Circuit. In 1969, he ran for State Attorney and went on to serve with distinction for close to 20 years. Austin took a brief leave from his position as State Attorney to serve as General Counsel for the City of Jacksonville under Mayor Hans Tanzler, where he helped form our newly consolidated city government. In 1990, civic leaders from across Jacksonville encouraged Austin to run for Mayor and he took his place at City Hall in July of 1991. While he chose to serve for just one term, his accomplishments were significant : successfully bringing an NFL team to our city with the Jacksonville Jaguars; creating the River City Renaissance program which relocated City Hall to the St. James Building, built a new performing arts center, created the Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless and revitalized the Jacksonville Zoo. And it was Austin's leadership, vision and advocacy that led to the creation of the Jacksonville Children's Commission and the complete restructuring of the Jacksonville Housing Authority. Austin's service to Jacksonville continued until his death. He served with distinction on many boards and commissions including the Jacksonville Journey anti-crime initiative. Austin was a man of faith and integrity who inspired fierce loyalty in all who knew him. He was loved dearly by his family and by people across this community. He will be truly missed. The family will receive friends Wednesday, April 27th from 6:00- 8:00 in the evening at Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home on Edgewood Avenue. A Funeral service for Mayor Austin will be held at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church on Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. Interment will follow at Evergreen Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Prisoners of Christ (PO Box 28159 Jacksonville, Fl. 32226), the Jacksonville Symphony or the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. Please Sign the Guestbook @ Jacksonville.com
Published in the Florida Times-Union from Apr. 27 to Apr. 28, 2011
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