Cover photo for Robert John Austin's Obituary
Robert John Austin Profile Photo
1951 Robert 2020

Robert John Austin

January 9, 1951 — March 30, 2020

Robert John Austin, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, was born to Mary Sowa and Charles Austin on January 19, 1951 in Pittson, PA. He was the middle brother of three where he most likely began honing his strong negotiation and mediation skills.

Bob attended school in the Wyoming Valley area in Avoca and Mountaintop, PA. His first job was helping at his uncle’s gas station, which provided him with an impressive work ethic and many fun stories. Bob graduated from King’s college in Scranton, PA. He went on to Central Michigan University where he obtained a Master’s Degree in Biology. He enjoyed lifelong learning in the sciences and public administration. He was an avid reader with a fondness for collecting books and sharing them with others.

After earning his Master’s degree in chilly Michigan, he moved to Florida to work on wildlife concerns in the Everglades; hence his connection to crocodiles. His first permanent position with the US Fish and Wildlife Service was at McNenny National Fish Hatchery in Spearfish, South Dakota, where he made fish food, as well as great friends. It was in the Black Hills that he met Carla Jones, married, and became Angel’s dad. Bob’s work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service took the family to Nevada, Idaho, and finally to Oregon, where he took a job in policy with Bonneville Power Administration. The Pacific Northwest felt like home.

Bob had a passion for the environment and his community. From starting a PTA, to becoming Mayor of Estacada, serving on numerous boards and committees, and serving as a County Commissioner in Clackamas, Bob was a peacemaker and worked diligently to bring people together for positive change. His last job was his dream job with Upper Snake River Tribes (USRT). There he helped facilitate the return of salmon to communities who had not seen them in too long. His wisdom and thoughtfulness of resource issues and human dynamics helped the team achieve many successes.

Bob was admired by his colleagues and friends for his optimism, knowledge, and his silly puns. He supported the arts and greatly enjoyed attending plays, gallery shows and concerts, and collecting guitars. He loved his family and was incredibly devoted to them. He was a busy person but was always there when anyone needed him, or when an opportunity to go fishing arose. He was a “Jack of all Trades” and knew how to do many different things. In the 1970’s and 80’s he could frequently be found in the garage, fixing the family VW bus. He recently helped his daughter construct an accent wall from scratch in her new home. He had a kind, compassionate and generous spirit.

Bob passed away peacefully at his home on March 30, 2020 as a result of complications from cancer treatment. He is survived by his wife Carla, daughters Angel (Kevin) and Elizabeth (Brian), and grandchildren Kassidy (Dylan), Claire, and Quentin, his brothers, Charles and Paul, and many nieces and nephews.

Bob was a wonderful friend to many and will be greatly missed by his friends and family.

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