Robert Steele Austin, “Bob”, was born May 26, 1951 in Austin, Texas to Sydney Morris Austin, Jr. and Helen Steele Austin. He lived most of his childhood in Buna, Texas, graduating from Buna High School in 1969. He attended the University of Texas at Austin and then transferred to McNeese State University in Louisiana, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and following later with a Master’s degree in Music Education. He was raised in a musical family and developed a love for music from an early age. Bob accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at the age of 9, was baptized at FBC Buna on February 19, 1961 and was unashamedly a Christian. He was a fiercely loyal friend, as his friends and family can attest. He was timid but a great story-teller/joke teller and he used those abilities frequently in conversations. He tended not to take himself too seriously, and used self-deprecating humor often to deflect from compliments, which generally made him uncomfortable. His sense of humor was surpassed only by his Dad’s, both lovers of puns and corny jokes and always trying to outdo the other.
He loved all things music, from the irreverent musical humor of P.D.Q. Bach to the intricacies of jazz; from the heart-swelling patriotic marches of composers like John Phillip Sousa to the beautiful, soul-searching and uplifting hymns of church; from the resounding tones of brass quintets to the twang of the banjo; from the vocal stylings James Taylor to harmonies of Home Free; from Mozart to Sousa to Fannie J. Crosby, he loved it all and enjoyed sharing it with others. He was a gifted man. He could play multiple instruments, sing with the best, and was a truly gifted teacher. An encourager to his students with seemingly infinite patience at times, he shared his love of music through not only his teaching but as a minister of music. He saw and heard the talents and gifts in others always, but rarely did he recognize his own. It truly wasn’t about him. Instead, he was always striving for perfection and evaluating to improve the next performance. He poured countless hours into meticulous planning for whatever he was working on: school programs, concerts, private lessons, worship services, youth activities, never seeking the limelight but always encouraging others to do and be their best in whatever the endeavor.
He was a devoted Papa, brother, friend, teacher, band director, Youth leader, music minister, loyal t-sipper fan, and great supporter of all things children-grandchildren related. Bob was insistent on good manners and proper grammar, whether his own children and grandchildren or others at school and church. He was always the gentleman, kind-hearted and generous. Immensely talented but never called attention to himself and never really saw/heard what others recognized in that regard.
He is survived by his son, Jonathan Steele Austin of Buna; daughters Ledah LeeAnne Kelley and husband Travis of Buna and Steele Dakota Austin of Austin; 5 grandchildren: Tristan Armstrong, Alanah Austin, Kenedy Austin, Aedan Kelley and Elijah Paul Kelley; brothers Sidney Morris Austin, III of Vidor and Charles Austin of Houston; nephews Sidney Morris Austin, IV of Ohio and Brian Austin and wife Misty of Vidor; two great nephews and one great niece; and a host of friends.
Memorial Service will be held at 12:00 pm Saturday, October 10, 2020 at First Baptist Church in Buna with visitation starting at 11:00 am.