Friends and family celebrate the life of Coach Jim Austin - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Friends and family celebrate the life of Coach Jim Austin

HOXIE, AR (KAIT) -

Region 8 said goodbye to a special coach and community member Saturday.

A memorial service was held Saturday at the Hoxie gym in honor of Coach Jim Austin.

Austin died Monday in a two car collision on Highway 304 near Pocahontas.

Hundreds came to show their respects to Austin and his family. He was a father, a husband, a veteran, and a coach. He meant so much too so many people.

“It was heartwarming today for you to share your stories with us,” said Austin's daughter Kippi Austin Halfin.

The line of people went out the door waiting to share memories of Coach Austin.

Robin Minton, Austin's daughter, said it's clear her father changed lives.

“If they couldn't afford tennis shoes or they couldn't afford uniforms, he would make sure they had that,” Minton said. “We'd go on trips and they'd say no I'm not hungry, well my dad always made sure they were fed.”

Minton said it is overwhelming hearing stories of things he did that she and her siblings never knew.

“I had one young gentleman tell me he helped the trajectory of his life because Dad saw the path he was going down,” Minton said.

Coach Austin was never one to brag. Minton said the things he would do for people would amaze you.

Those who came to the visitation and service said their lives were better because of Coach Austin, and Minton said there's a reason he was able to help so many.

“Daddy had the freedom to do that because he had the support system of my mother at home,” Minton said. “She left the light on, and a smile, and her love. So we are very blessed.”

Austin and his wife Marietta were married for 60 years. Coach Austin is well known for coaching basketball and track at Delaplaine. Coach Austin has quite the reputation, and now has his very own honorary seat in the Hoxie gym.

The turn out Saturday showed the family how loved Austin is, and it's helping them cope.

“This has helped so much,” Minton said. “I mean it has given us strength to get through it. We've got tough days ahead but we will get through it as well.”

Minton said she and her siblings see it as their job to continue their fathers great legacy, and she said they are better people because of him.

Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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