Deceased January 4, 2008

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In Memory

On Jan. 4, 2008, Austin’s wife, Jennifer, informed me he had died that morning of metastatic cancer. He and Jennifer resided in Arlington, VA.

I met Austin in kindergarten in Shaker Heights, OH. Eight members of that class—Austin, Carl Oestermeyer, Will McFarlane, Bill Falsgraf, Les Nash, Vic Soltz, my twin brother Tom, and I —entered Amherst in 1951 and graduated in 1955. Austin graduated with me from University School in Shaker Heights; most others went to Shaker Heights High School. Without Austin’s help, a number of us in James would not have successfully completed Frosh English. He was co-head of the News Bureau, sports editor of the Student, and football program manager. He was an officer of Alpha Delta Phi, majored in English and graduated cum laude. His love of sailing convinced him to apply to the US Naval Officers’ Training School in Newport, RI.  After receiving his commission, he served aboard an amphibious cargo ship 1955-1958.  Austin then received his degree from Harvard Law School in 1961.

In 1961, Austin moved to Washington, DC, specializing in finance and tax-exempt bond law. He was an associate and then managing partner of Dunnells, Duvall & Porter, now Holland & Knight. His real love was acting as chairman and in-house counsel for Charter Schools Development Corporation, a non-profit organization providing financing and working capital for schools. He was also a director of the Warren Tool Corporation for over twenty years and authored a number of articles for Mathew Bender and other publishers about FHA mortgage insurance and tax exempt financing for nursing homes. He brewed his own beer for over twenty years.

He and Jennifer owned and managed a number of apartment properties in Arlington and the District.  They quickly learned how to take care of plumbing and electrical emergencies that usually occurred after midnight.

Austin was diagnosed with incurable cancer in 1996 and given eight months to live. His determination to lead an active and meaningful life lengthened that period to over eleven years. He continued to read poetry, visit Civil War battle fields, attend minor league baseball games and college basketball games, and provide wise counsel to those who sought his real estate expertise. He and his family continued to visit a family camp in Canada, where they fished, hiked, canoed, and swam. They also visited France a number of times to canoe streams and rivers. He began to run marathons—Boston, New York, Paris. He ran a five mile race on Thanksgiving Day, six weeks before his death.

Austin and Jennifer attended a ‘mini’ Amherst 1955 reunion in New Hampshire last fall before Homecoming. Other attending classmates have told me the Frums really enjoyed hiking and visiting with their classmates. Pictures of this ‘mini’ reunion can be viewed on the 1955 Class Website.

After Austin lost the use of his left arm in 2004 following a second cancer surgical procedure, he told me he continued to play his weekly squash match with his left arm strapped to his side.  When I asked him how many points his opponent “spotted” him, he smiled and replied “not enough.”

Austin’s Jan.13, 2008, memorial service at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington was a celebration of his very full life, and it reflected his love of family, his humor, and his giving nature. The church was completely filled with his friends that included myself and my wife Carol, Dave Weinman, and Alpha Delta Phi brothers Alling Brown, Hardy Patten, Bill Duffy, and Van Seasholes.

Austin’s classmates will remember him for his intelligence, honesty, integrity, kindness, humor, and ability to listen to and enjoy the company of others. I will remember him for these qualities but primarily as a very dear friend for sixty nine years. He was fun to be with and never mentioned his medical misfortune. In addition to Jennifer, he is survived by five children, four grandchildren, and three sisters.

Peter C. Wykoff ’55