Gene “Geno” Austin died peacefully, surrounded by family, on Friday, February 17, 2012, at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wisconsin after a courageous 12 year battle with cancer.
Gene was born on September 24, 1937 in Watertown, WI. He was the son of the late Vernon and Sarah (Sally) Austin. He was united in marriage to Kathy Lockwood (Spera) on February 5, 1983 and the couple enjoyed 29 years together.
Gene graduated in 1955 from Rufus King High School in Milwaukee, WI then joined the Army 32nd National Guard Red Arrow Division in Oconomowoc, WI in 1958. Gene worked in the printing industry doing sales and production management. Following retirement, he drove school bus for the Waupaca school district for many years where his nickname was “Beamer” because of his beaming smile.
Back in his greaser days Gene was in the Rev Masters Hot Rod Club of Oconomowoc, WI where they won the championship in 1960. He also loved fishing, hunting, boating, playing the slots, dancing and listening to the oldies and laughing with everyone he met. His smile was infectious. Gene enjoyed living life to the fullest with his wife, family and friends.
Gene is survived by his loving wife and best friend, Kathy, his children: Mike and Mary Austin, Lori Austin-Shifflett and Tom Kinney, Ron and Linda (Austin) White, Roberta Austin, Aaron and Doreen (Lockwood) Jerabek, John and Rachel Lockwood, his grandchildren Ryan and Jessica, Sarah, Whitney and Kory, Dylan, Samantha, Nathan, Desiray, Steffani, Sam, Marina, and Colin and his great-grandchildren, Kayden, Shay, and Lily. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Shirley Spera and his in-laws, Frank and Dee Spera, John Spera, Steve Spera and Matt Spera and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, father-in-law John Spera, his sister-in-law Elaine Spera and his loving cat, Chicken Man.
A memorial service will be held today, Thursday, February 23 at 5:30 pm at Holly’s Funeral Home, Waupaca, WI. Friends may visit at Holly’s from 4:00 pm until the time of the service. In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in the name of Gene Austin. The family would like to thank the staff of Riverside Medical Center and Theda Clark Medical Center for their attentive and compassionate care of our beloved Gene. And a special thank you to Dr. Anthony Phillips for his friendship and care over the last 12 years. Online condolences available at www.hollyfuneralhome.com