CHARLESTON -- Stephen Bruce Austin, age 44, died Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009, at his home in Charleston.
He was born Nov. 12, 1964 in Cairo, Ill. to Bruce Raymond and Myrtle "Sisser" Goodin Austin who survive of Charleston. He lived in Charleston most of his life, where he was a 1983 graduate of Charleston High School; and had attended the University of Missouri Medical School in Kansas City and Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.
He enrolled in the Dick Hill International Flight School in Springfield and received certification to fly all types of planes with the exception of multiple jet engine aircraft. Upon completion of his certifications, he accepted a position at the school as instructor in advanced helicopter flying. In 1993 he was employed as pilot for helicopter tours over the Badlands of South Dakota and then working with the same company, flew as Power Line Patrol in Wisconsin during the tourist off season. He then worked as an Eyewitness Helicopter Reporter for ABC affiliate KCRG Television Station in Cedar Rapids, Iowa until receiving word that the Mississippi County-based Plumlee Crop Dusting Company was available for purchase.
He moved back to Charleston and acquired the equipment to open Austin Ag Aviation. He was a member of the Charleston United Methodist Church where he had served as a trustee, assisted as coordinator for United Methodist Youth Fellowship and was a member of the Church Administration Council. An Eagle Scout recipient, he had served as a scout leader, was a member of the Charleston Masonic Lodge #407 AF & AM, a 32nd degree Mason of the Scottish Rite, a Shriner of the Moolah Temple in St. Louis, a member of the MENSA organization, and had served on the board of the Mississippi County Farm Bureau and the Charleston Chamber of Commerce. A member of the Sikeston Little Theatre, he most recently performed the lead role of Detective Sergeant Trotter in Agatha Christe's "Mousetrap." He was currently employed with the Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center in East Prairie as Grant Administrator, and the center's representative guest speaker.
On Feb. 3, 1996 he married Sherry Crisel who survives of Charleston.
Also surviving are: one daughter, Catherine "Catie" Jane Austin of Charleston; two brothers, Sam Goodin Austin of Cape Girardeau and David Elgin Austin of Webster Groves; and five nieces and nephews, and a number of aunts, uncles and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Jesse and Myrtle Austin; and his maternal grandparents, Sam Cox and Jane Goodin.
Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight at the United Methodist Church in Charleston, where Masonic Rites are scheduled to be conducted at 7:00 p.m. Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at the church, with the Rev. Dan Faust, pastor, officiating. Dr. Martha Ellen Black, executive director of Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center, will serve as eulogist.
Burial will follow in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery under the direction of McMikle Funeral Home.
Pallbearers will be: Brink Naile, James Naile, Jerry Don Naile, Jr., Scott Brink, Edward Goodman, Cameron Goodman and Frank Goodman.
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Memorial contributions may be made to the:
Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center
200 S. Washington
East Prairie, MO 63845
United Methodist Church
1700 E. Marshall
Charleston, MO 63834