John Lee Austin, 80, of Crawfordsville died after a short illness on May 21, 2021, at Franciscan Health Lafayette East. He was born April 2, 1941, in Louisville, the son of John L. and Eldora Austin of Linden, IN.
John graduated from Linden High School in 1959, and attended Purdue University for one year, moving on to technical school in St. Louis. He worked as a mechanic at area car dealers before becoming the first owner of the Shell station on U.S. 231 North (in the current Sunoco location) for several years, then becoming the owner of the Arco station in Waynetown.
He later became a long-haul truck driver for several years, then returned to work as a machinist at several area companies. At CarQuest, one regular seasoned patron referred to him as "the old man in the shop", which John, known to be younger than the patron, found amusing.
He resumed truck driving in the late 1980's, continuing until his retirement in 2003. In retirement, he served as a "red coat" volunteer at Culver Hospital for roughly a decade.
He was a Master Mason of the New Richmond Lodge No. 604, and a longstanding member of the Montgomery County Shrine Club and Shriners International, as well as a 32nd degree Mason in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite. He was a passionate fan of barbershop singing, becoming a member of Crawfordsville's The Barbers of C-Ville and Lafayette's Tippecanotes. A lifelong car enthusiast, he was also a founding member of the Charioteers Car Club, as well as a member of the Ben-Hur Car Club.
He loved to travel, visiting 48 of the 50 states, Canada and several European countries. He was known to be an adventurous eater in many respects, often seeking the most unusual item on the menu. Nonetheless, he struggled with acceptance of many commonplace foodstuffs, only managing to overcome his antipathy to Mexican cuisine in his later years. (Fortunately, he was able to make up for lost time)
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jan, and son John Christopher of Indianapolis. In lieu of flowers or other gifts to the family, donations may be made to: American Kidney Fund, 11921 Rockville Pike, Suite 300, Rockville, MD 20852. Please join the family of John Austin for a celebration of his life at Stone Creek Lodge (2865 S State Rd 47, Crawfordsville) on Sunday, June 27, from 1:00-3:00.
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