George Herbert Austin

dad4George Herbert Austin was born May 29, 1930 to Helma and Oscar Austin, and grew up on a fur farm near Canton, Minnesota. He died on December 16, 2014 after fighting a courageous two year battle with pancreatic cancer.


He double-majored in Mathematics and Business, graduated summa cum laude from Luther College in 1951, and married Shirley Butler in August of that year. Receiving a direct commission from the US Air Force in September 1952, he attended Penn State under an Air Force program in 1952-53. He served as a weather officer in the Air Force in Duluth from 1953-1956.


He spent a long career in the investment field, starting in 1957, first for Investors’ Diversified Services (1957-1966), then as portfolio manager for a St. Louis-based mutual fund (1966-68), then Stock Director for the State of Wisconsin Investment Board from 1968-76 (as head of it from 1974-76), then Investment Director for Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) from 1976-1994, and Portfolio Manager with Thompson, Plumb, an investment firm in Madison, Wisconsin, from 1994-2001.


Even after his retirement in 2001, he continued to serve on many boards, including the Children’s Dyslexia Center-Madison, the Madison Community Foundation, Oakwood Foundation, the Edgewood Campus School Fund, and the Oscar Mayer Family Foundation. For over thirty years he served as the Chair of the Investment Committee of the Bethel Endowment Foundation at Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison. He was a long-time member of Bethel Lutheran Church, and served on the Bethel Horizons camp board as well.


He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Shirley, his four children, Mary Austin-Seymour, David Austin, Kristina Austin Nicholls, and Greta Austin, as well as ten grandchildren, a sister, Joyce Jacobson, a brother, Allan Austin, and four nieces and one nephew.


A memorial service will be held at Bethel Lutheran Church in the spring of 2015.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Children’s Dyslexia Center-Madison, the Bethel Endowment Foundation, or the Oakwood Foundation.

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