William C. “Bill” Austin, age 74, of Sylva passed away Wednesday, June 19, 2019, at Mission Hospital of Asheville, N.C. Mr. Austin was born July 8, 1944, in Dearborn, Mich. He was the son of the late Roy and Mae Mildred (Jennings) Austin. He was the husband of Nohemy Hernandez Chavez Austin. He is survived by two brothers, Jim and Roy Austin.
A resident of Sylva and Fort Myers, Fla., spending half the year at each location, Bill was most recognizable locally as the welcoming face at the Jackson County Airport for those flying in and out.
Bill kept an airplane at the airport and for decades donated his time and efforts towards general aviation. He volunteered countless hours doing anything he could to help the airport put its best foot forward. No job was above or below him.
He spent his life in service to his country as a United States Coast Guardsman, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander. He was trained as a fireman and policeman, as well as recently as this year flying Coast Guard Auxiliary missions.
Bill was a devoted husband and stalwart of a family that included branches both in the United States and in Honduras. All who knew him considered him “just a phone call away for help.”
It was probably the fireman in him that kept him answering every call, and it was ironic that although he was regarded as a bighearted man, it was his heart that ultimately and unexpectedly failed him.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be given in Bill’s name to:
Mission Rathbun House, 121 Sherwood Road, Asheville, NC 28803.
Additional obituary information will be published as it becomes available.
Appalachian Funeral Services is serving the family.