Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Passages: Gregory Edward Austin, 1927 - 2013

The last of a generation in my family has passed: my great uncle Gregory Edward Austin on 24 November 2013 at Elk Grove, California.

Gregory Austin was born in 1927 in New York City, the son of John Ralph Austin and Therese McGinnes Austin. I have fond memories of Uncle Greg; there are so many of them that it is difficult to choose just a few.

My first memory is a visit to Grahamsville, New York from California where he was living. Greg moved out to the San Francisco Bay Area after his service in the United State Army. He married, had children and built a life out West which meant his visits back East were special occasions! Not only did I get to see Uncle Greg but it offered an opportunity to see some of my other cousins, aunts and uncles at the same time. I do remember that on one summer visit, he convinced my mother to go with him to "crash" some of the resorts in the area (the Borscht Belt) and go folk dancing. And Uncle Greg also introduced us to guacamole (homemade, of course), which was still a novelty on the East Coast in the early 1970s.

Uncle Greg was an engineer and helped design the underground communications systems employed at BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) when it was first built in the 1960's. He continued to do freelance at work for BART even after retirement.

I got to know Uncle Greg better when I lived in the Bay Area during the 1980's and 1990's. Often I would house sit at his place in Fremont before he and his wife moved up to Santa Rosa.

Uncle Greg was smart, funny and was a beloved member of my family. He will be missed.

© 2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee

1 comment:

dlchambers said...

Greg started the Palo Alto Model Railroad Club in 1966, and he taught hundreds of kids to love the hobby, me among them. He was way ahead of his time, using electronic and computer technology and teaching it to the kids, many of whom grew up to be engineers in Silicon Valley. He was a great, generous man.