1932 - 2014

BARTOW - Robert Donald Austin, passed away Sunday morning, November 2, 2014, at home. Robert was born January 1, 1932, in Lake Wales, FL, to the loving parents of the late Rev. James P. and Lula Mae Smith Austin. He was raised with a godly foundation and high Christian principles to love God with all his heart and soul. He impacted so many lives while he traveled here on earth. Never taking, but always giving; never complaining, but always praising and smiling; never putting down, but always lifting up.
 He graduated from Roosevelt High School (Lake Wales, FL) in 1951 and went on to Florida A & M University. He pitched the first 'no-hitter' in the history of FAMU Baseball and went on to be drafted and signed by Branch Rickey of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
 Robert Austin was employed for 19 years as the Director of Carver Recreation Center. He became a minister in 1986 at Mount Gilboa M.B. Church (Bartow, FL). In 1991, he was called to Pastor First Baptist Hilltop Church of Frostproof where he led the flock for 21 years.
 He was preceded in death by his son, Robert Austin, Jr.; daughter, Wanda Wilson; grandson, Robert Austin, III.
 He is survived by his beloved and devoted wife of 59 years, Josephine R. Austin; sons, Min. James P. Austin (Nancy) of Bartow, FL, and Min. Marlon R. Austin (Angie) of Lakeland, FL; daughters, Pamela Burgess (Louis) of Lakeland, FL, and Patricia Lloyd Smith of Lake Wales, FL; God son, Captain Chauncey Henry of Frederick, MD; son-in-law, Ralph Wilson of Jacksonville, FL; daughter-in-law, Sarah Austin of Fort Lauderdale, FL; sister, Lula B. Jones of Lake Wales, FL; brothers, Rev. Allen Austin (Ethel) of Lake Wales, FL, Dr. Earnest Austin (Anne) of Dale City, VA, Lawrence Austin (Doris) of Baltimore, MD; brother-in-law, Clarence Rollerson of Englewood, CA; fourteen grandchildren; twenty-seven great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, friends and a very loving church family.
 The family will receive friends on Thursday, November 6, 2014, at First Baptist Hilltop Church, Frostproof, FL; also on Friday, November 7, 2014, at Mt. Gilboa M.B. Church, Bartow, FL. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, November 8, 2014, at the Bartow Assembly of God Church, located at 915 S. Broadway Avenue, Bartow, FL. Interment will follow at the Wildwood Cemetery of Bartow, FL. Services will be entrusted to Gause Funeral Home of 625 S. Holland Pkwy., Bartow, FL, 33830. – Ledger, Nov. 6, 2014

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