Virgil Austin, 89

Virgil L. Austin, a resident of Little Falls, passed away Monday Jan. 30, 2012, in Little Falls.

A memorial service for Virgil L. will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at First United Church in Little Falls with Rev. Damen Heitmann officiating.  Burial will be in the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery.  Friends may call Friday from 1 p.m. until the service at First United Church.  Military rites are with Little Falls American Legion Post #46 and Little Falls VFW Post #1112.  Arrangements are with the Shelley Funeral Chapel in Little Falls. Military will be with the Little Falls American Legion Post #46 and Little Falls VFW Post #1112.

Virgil was born April 24, 1922, in Brainerd, to the late Albert and Vira (Mincer) Austin. He grew up in Brainerd and graduated from Brainerd High School in 1940. He then attended Brainerd Junior College before enlisting in the U.S. Navy V-5 program in 1942. He became a Naval Aviator, serving as a flight instructor in Kingsville, Texas, until being called to duty as a fighter pilot. Virgil was united in marriage to Betty M. Christenson in June, 1944 in Pensacola, Fla. He served as an officer with Air Group 13 until his honorable discharge Nov. 19, 1945. Following his discharge Virg returned to Brainerd and was employed as a foreman/supervisor for the C. L. Nelson Company, a highway construction firm. In 1956 he joined George Johnson and George Merrick in the formation of Office Supply Inc. of Little Falls. Over the years Virg and Betty became sole owners until selling the business in 1989. During his years in Little Falls Virg was active in many community programs. He was a charter member of Exchange Club, served in all local offices of the Club, served as District Director and was selected for the Minnesota Exchangite Extraordinary award.  He was Cub Master of Pack 44; was president of the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce; a director of the Little Falls Development Corporation; director and treasurer of Sno Dogs Snowmobile Club and director of St. Cloud Technical College Business Machines Department. Virg was also actively involved in the creation of the local United Way; Ducks Unlimited; Little Falls Arts and Crafts Fair and the American Field Service program. Virg was very active in First Congregational Church, serving as deacon, trustee and treasurer for many years. He was chairman of the committee that formed First United Church and served as treasurer and other positions in the church. He was a life member of both Little Falls American Legion Post #46 and Little Falls VFW Post #1112 as well as a member of the Masonic Lodge. Virgil enjoyed fishing, hunting, bowling, traveling, attending high school athletic events and flying. He also restored a Model T, a classic Mustang and helped restore the Lindbergh car. Most of all, however, he enjoyed spending time at the family lake cabin on Pelican Lake.

Virgil Austin is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Betty; sons, Richard (Chriss) of Morro Bay, Calif. John (Elizabeth) of Clearwater, Robert (Betsy) of Fort Collins, Colo. and Thomas (Jana) of Houston, Texas; brother, Donald of Phoenix, Ariz. and five grandchildren. Virgil was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Vira Austin.

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