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Bill Austin

William C. “Bill” Austin, age 74, of Sylva passed away Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at Mission Hospital of Asheville, NC.  Mr. Austin was born July 8, 1944 in Dearborn, MI. 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, FL, 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.

A graveside service will be held on Sunday, June 23, 2019 at Parris Cemetery in Sylva, NC at 3:45 pm. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 2:00 until 3:30 pm at Appalachian Funeral Services of Sylva, NC.

Family and friends will meet for remembrances of Bill at the Jackson County Airport following the graveside service. A light meal will be provided by the Jackson County Airport Authority.   

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be given in Bill’s name to:

Mission Rathbun House  121 Sherwood Rd.  Asheville, NC 28803.

Additional obituary information will be published as it becomes available.

Appalachian Funeral Services is serving the family.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bill Austin, please visit our flower store.


Sincere Deepest Sympathies to Nohemy and Family from Arthur & Ann Marie Parsons, Cape Coral, FL. We were very Blessed to fly with Bill (Flotilla 9-10 USCGAUX) for several years! Sorry we never made it to NC to visit you and Bill ! Nohemy , Please know that he will always be an Angel by your side! Ann & Art

Arthur & Ann Marie Parsons Sep 3 2019 12:00 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Bill Austin

Arthur & Ann Marie Parsons Sep 3 2019 12:00 AM

We are deeply saddened that Bill 'crossed the bar.' He was a tremendous shipmate and friend. I had the pleasure of serving with Bill at Port Security Unit 307 in St. Petersburg, FL from September 1998 until January 2003. Bills unbelievably positive can-do attitude, willingness to pitch in to do whatever was necessary and professionalism was an inspiration to everyone and played a very essential part in establishing a terrific Coast Guard unit that has repeated served our Nation for nearly two decades. Nothing was too small or too big for Bill to tackle. Our Nation, the Coast Guard, PSU 307 and I benefitted from Bills selfless service. We are all better because of Bill Austin. Please accept my deepest condolences to Austin family and all of Bills friends on his passing. Fairwinds and Following Seas / Tailwinds

CAPT Paul Crissy, USCG (Ret) Jun 26 2019 12:00 AM

Our deepest sympathy and comfort to family and friends. It was of great sadness to learn of Bill's passing. My honor to have know Bill and flown with him on USCG patrols. He will be missed, great memories, his love of flying, character and dedication will remain in our hearts. He will be remembered by his shipmates at our next USCG Aux. meeting at Coast Guard Station, Fort Myers Beach, Fl.

Bob Simpson. USCG Aux. Air Station, Clearwater, Fl. Jun 25 2019 12:00 AM

I send my regards at the passing of Bill. I flew with him for several years while in the Coast Guard Auxiliary in the Fort Myers area. Bill was a great pilot and fellow member of the Auxiliary. I am saddened to learn that he is no longer with us. Some people give very little of their lives to help others or to honor their country in service...that was not Bill. He constantly gave of himself with a sense of duty, respect and honor to those around him and to his country. It was a life well spent, but cut short. I salute Bill. Semper Paratus.

Constance Irvin Jun 24 2019 12:00 AM

Robert and Remonia Shipley Jun 22 2019 12:00 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Bill Austin

Robert and Remonia Shipley Jun 22 2019 12:00 AM

Dear sweet Nohemy.... My heart goes out to you and I am so very sorry for your loss. I know the pain you are feeling and wish there was something I could do or say that would make it better. Bill was bigger than life and will certainly be missed by all his many friends both here and in Buckingham!! Melvin and I were both very fond of him and I have many memories of the two of them picking on each other! I rejoice that they are both in a better place. Love you and am praying for you and your family.

Kathy Barnes Jun 22 2019 12:00 AM

So SHOCKING that he is gone!!He was a wonderful friend and neighbor. Love to you and your family.

Moxie McKeldrey Jun 22 2019 12:00 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Bill Austin

Moxie McKeldrey Jun 22 2019 12:00 AM

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