Bill R. Austin, longtime Texas Baptist pastor and educator, died April 17. He was 88. He was born Aug. 6, 1931 to Gilbert Wayne and Lola Ellis Austin in O’Brien. He professed faith in Christ and was baptized at age 9, surrendered to the ministry at age 12, was preaching youth revivals throughout West Texas by the time he was 15, and was called to his first pastorate at age 18. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree at Hardin-Simmons University and his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Baylor University. He met Margaret Heath of Levelland at Hardin-Simmons, and they married Aug. 7, 1950. He taught at Hardin-Simmons and Temple Junior College, and he served as chaplain at Baylor. His many pastorates included the First Baptist churches of Waxahachie, Vernon and Nacogdoches; University Baptist Church in Abilene; Calvary Baptist Church and Park Lane Drive Baptist Church in Waco; and churches in Oklahoma and California. He was a prolific writer and his many published books included Austin’s Topical History of Christianity. He developed an interest in art at a very early age and he painted off and on all his life, mainly self-taught and working with oils. After retirement, he returned to the easel and began painting commissioned works. He was preceded in death by his oldest brother Wayne and his sister Peggy. He is survived by two brothers, Hubert and Roy; his wife, Margie; son, Randy Austin and wife, Dara, of North Richland Hills; daughter, Terri McKee and husband, Mark of Hewitt; four grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Obituary: Bill Austin
April 20, 2020