Don Austin

April 8, 1926 – December 6, 2022
In loving memory ~
Don, they don’t make them like that anymore, a life well used. Born in Magna Bay to parents Percival and Lulu Austin. He started working in the bush at 13, skidding logs with horses, and living in a camp with adult loggers. He remembered his workhorse team’s names right up until 1 year ago. He was fiercely independent and became a businessman early in life as a fearless logger, woodsman, mink farmer, pig farmer, cattleman, horse breaker, welder, mechanic, carpenter, sawmill fabricator, millwright, and professional truck driver. He knew no limits. Don loved his auction sales, big iron, and pallets of bargains which still emerge today. He could make anything work and turned a track loader into a forklift, using a sheet of steel, a cutting torch, and a welder on a weekend. He fabricated and operated several head rig sawmills and sold lumber for years. He was still actively carpentering and sawmilling at age 92.
His mantra was, “if you want something done right do it yourself because you can figure it out”. Don was part of the generation that opened B.C. to the modern age, like it or not. Those pioneers are almost all gone.
Don was a dreamer and a schemer who had a quick wit and loved to laugh. He was thrifty and wouldn’t spend a dime on new gear and appreciated the Salvation Army and any senior center because he could get a soup and sandwich for 2 bucks. Don loved exploring a new country and seeing new vistas, his favourite being Barkerville and Wells area; he loved it steep and deep. He was a complex man, and enjoyed the finer things as well, like singing in the church choir and dancing, travelling to singles dances across the interior. He gardened all his life; participated in the community gardens and loved farmers’ markets.
Always a swimmer, at age 60, he re-discovered recreation, hiking, fishing, and skiing became his all-consuming activities. And he went all in, leading many hikes in Prince George, Quesnel and the Chilcotin areas, was given a life membership to the Caledonia Ramblers club in Prince George, and was well known for his endurance and bush sense. He was still backcountry skiing at age 85.
He had a stroke in 2017, and then accidentally burnt his house down which dimmed the twinkle in his eyes a bit. But in true Don fashion, he worked through it and recovered, except for his speech, which was a killer for a social butterfly like Don. It was truly a tough slog after that. At age 92 he did succeed in building an addition to a workshop, mostly by himself, and moved in. He lived simply, rainwater in a barrel was his sustenance. Electricity and indoor plumbing were optional.
Survived by children Heather Pearson (Norm), Jeff Austin (Jo), and Jamie Austin (Maria); granddaughters, grandson, and great-grandsons; predeceased by daughter Holly and ex-wife Faith and sister Lorna.
Don’s wishes were to be placed in the family plot in Celista along with his mother and sister. There will be a family graveside gathering in the spring.

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