|Gene Dale Austin,
age 88, passed away May 16, 2022. He was born December 20, 1933,
in Arkansas, son of Martha Marie (Haribson) Austin, and Truman Park Austin.
Gene was a long-time resident of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and a member of
First Baptist (Cross) Church in Springdale. He served in the Army
and received an honorable discharge. He is survived by his sister, Mary
Ruth Austin, and his brother, Billy Dean Austin.
Gene had a wide range of interests throughout his life. He had a lifetime love for motorcycles, boats, and fast cars. Over the years, he enjoyed collecting primitives and antiques, shooting muzzle loader guns, participating in Civil War reenactments, photography, creating dioramas, enjoying nature, interacting with people, and many other interests. In his early years, Gene was also a Taekwando instructor.
As owner and operator of Spencer Printing in Springdale, AR for over 60 years, Gene's love for photography grew, and he began photographing “this and that”, as he liked to call it. He later created a series of Christian art photos, including his popular “Crown of Thorns and Nails”, which hangs in churches and galleries around the world. Gene enjoyed creating the props for some of his photos. For his Crown of Thorns picture, this included gathering thorn branches, soaking them in water, forming the crown, and purchasing authentic crucifixion nails.
His interest for photography extended to phographing scenery and people. He made five visits to China and Thailand, where he went into isolated areas and created outstanding photos of the people and the land. In addition, Gene enjoyed attending Native American celebrations in Oklahoma, and created a series of Native American Traditions photographs. He freely gave permission to use his photography, and gave copies of his prints, without asking for any compensation or costs. His photography can be viewed at genedaustin.com.
In the early 80's, Gene designed and built his log cabin style home, with an eight foot fireplace, on the side of Sunrise Mountian in Fayetteville, AR. His home was prominently featured in April, 1985, Country Living magazine, entitled "Home in the Ozarks". Gene's photographs have also appeared in the May/June 1981 and December 1983 issues of Country Living.
Gene was a member of the Sugar Creek Train Club, and in his later life, his artistic abilities branched out to creating realistic dioramas for O-scale model train layouts. He soon became a talented creator of buildings, landscapes, caves, cemeteries, and realistic trees for the layouts. He went on to create Jurassic theme parks, dinosaur mountains, and zombie cemeteries for children’s train sets.
Gene had a love for life and for people. He was a generous man who possessed many talents. He gave freely of his time and talent to help others. He was a humble man, never acknowledging his talents or his contribution to making the lives of family and friends around him better. His passing will leave a void in many lives.
"The Main Thing is just to keep The Main Thing, The Main Thing" ~Gene Austin
A graveside service for Gene Austin was held 11AM, Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at Friendship Cemetery in Springdale, Arkansas.
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