He was born May 26, 1917, on a ranch in the Flint Hills near Strong City to Earl and Maude (Brough) Austin. He grew up in Emporia, attending schools there including the former Kansas State Teachers College, now Emporia State University.
He married Barbara Eloise Pyle on March 16, 1941, at Grace Methodist Church in Emporia. She survives.
He served in the Army's Quartermaster Corps in World War II and was a life member of the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans. He was first employed by the B.F. Goodrich Co. in Blackwell, Okla., and later became a store manager with the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. He was transferred in that capacity by Firestone to Parsons in 1944.
In 1948, he and his wife purchased the business of George Loeb and founded Kirk Austin's Dry Goods, later to be named Kirk Austin's Fabrics. It continued in operation for 43 years; first at 1720 Main, then 1829 Main and finally in a building they had constructed at 1401 Main. They closed the business and retired in the summer of 1991. During retirement, he and Mrs. Austin visited 47 of the lower 48 states as well as part of Canada and Mexico.
He was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church and was affiliated with First United Methodist Church and later Wesley United Methodist Church. He was a member of Parsons Lodge No. 117, A.F. & A.M., the Parsons Chapter 39, Royal Arch Masons, Coeur de Lion Commandery No. 17, Knights Templar, the Fort Scott Consistory and Mirza Shrine of Pittsburg. He was past president of Parsons Kiwanis Club and served as a member of the Parsons school board. Additional survivors include a son, T.J. Austin of Oklahoma City, Okla.; three daughters, Virginia Constance of Lawrence, Nancy Swanwick of Fort Scott and Carolyn Austin of Lynnwood, Wash.; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.He was preceded in death by a granddaughter.
Following cremation, the memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Forbes- Hoffman Funeral Home. Burial will be in the family plot at Maplewood Cemetery in Emporia. The family will receive friends at 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home.The family suggests memorials to Parsons Good Samaritan Center. These may be left at or mailed to the funeral home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, 67357.