Charles William Austin
Charles William Austin, 91, of Orange, passed away Sunday, August 4, at his home. Funeral services will be at 2:00 pm, Saturday, Aug. 10, at the 9th and Elm Church of Christ in Orange. Officiating will be Mr. Barry Jones. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens near Bridge City. Visitation will be from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Friday at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange.
Born in Slaton, TX, on Dec. 21, 1921, Charles was the son of Charles F. Austin and Bertha Henry Austin. After graduating from Slaton High School, Charles attended Draughons Business College in Lubbock. As a young man, Charles came to Orange in Oct. of 1941 looking for work in the ship yard. He started as a messenger boy for Consolidated Steel Corporation, Shipbuilding Division on Nov. 4, 1941 and later advanced to a payroll supervisor.
Consolidated Steel had over 27,000 employees at their peak. During a four year span, the shipyard built 39 destroyers, 92 destroyer escorts, and 106 landing craft infantry. After the war ended, Charles transferred to Consolidated Steel Corporation of Texas in 1945. The name of the company changed several times, but was American Bridge when he resigned in 1953 to accept the position of business manager of the Orange Independent School District on May 1, 1953.
In 1966, the West Orange-Cove Independent School District asked Charles to be their Business Manager. On July 1, 1968 the courts ordered the West Orange-Cove Independent School District to merge with the Orange District resulting in one district instead of two. The merged district had over 8,800 students. He was business manager of the combined district until his retirement in June of 1985 with a continuous service of 32 years.
Charles was a member of the Church of Christ in Orange, since 1941 and served as a Bible School teacher, treasurer for 10 years, and deacon for 20 years. He also helped construct the original church building and first addition. Charles was a member of the Texas Association of School Business Officials for over 30 years; a life member of the School Business Officials of the United States and Canada; treasurer approximately 3 years for Orange County Teachers Credit Union, director for over 37 years; and a member of the Orange Rotary Club since 1957.
He was preceded in death by parents and his wife, Nedra P. Austin.
Charles is survived by his daughters, Jeneanne Austin and Susanne Haley both of Orange; son and daughter-in-law, Charles Eugene and Andreja Austin of Verona, Italy; sister, Ruth Austin Ortiz of Bastrop; three grandchildren, Michael Shane Deason, Jason Ray Haley, Jennifer Leigh Haley; great-grandchildren, Marley Deason, Katlin Haley, Jacob Haley, Devin Martin, Trinity Martin; two nieces and three nephews.