Alabama Baptist pastor, leader Billy Austin dies Sept. 12

Billy Austin, longtime leader of Alabama Baptist Retirement Centers and current interim director of missions of Tuscaloosa Baptist Association, died Sept. 12. He was in his 59th year of ministry.

In a post on Facebook shortly after his death, Billy’s wife Linda described him as “a servant in ministry to God. … In a sense, he worked till he died.”

Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, described Billy as “a friend and co-worker who served the Lord faithfully and lightened up the lives of others with his gift of humor.”

Austin received a bachelor of arts degree in religion from Samford University in Birmingham and a master of divinity degree in theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Prior to beginning his managerial role at Clara Verner Tower in Tuscaloosa — an Alabama Baptist facility until 2007 — Austin served as pastor of several churches including First Baptist Church, Tuscumbia; Hopewell Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa; East Tallassee Baptist Church, Tallassee; and First Baptist Church, Bowling Green, Florida.

He later served as manager of Clara Verner Tower in 1988 and remained there until becoming president of ABRC in 1991. He retired from ABRC Jan. 31, 2013. He most recently was serving as interim director of Tuscaloosa Association.

Austin also served two terms on the State Board of Missions, one term on the State Board’s executive committee and 30 years as registration secretary for the Alabama Baptist State Convention.

Austin is survived by his wife of 53 years; a son, Mark Elliott Austin; and one granddaughter.

A celebration of life service was held at Northport Baptist Church on Sept. 15. Cards may be sent to the family in care of Tuscaloosa Association at 4300 AL-69, Northport, AL 35473.

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