OBITUARY

Donald Blair Austin

July 21, 1931October 6, 2021
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Donald Blair Austin passed away surrounded by family on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.

Don was born in San Antonio, Texas on July 21, 1931 and grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. Don lived a life that couldn't possibly be contained in one obituary. As his wife, Maria has said “He was pure love” and he lived his life with a love and passion we could all learn from.

Don was a proud member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 1952 and in the Corp of Cadets. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Texas A & M University and later obtained a Masters from the University of Oregon. In between, he was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army completing his training at Ft Sill, Oklahoma.

Don had a long and accredited career as a landscape architect. He was a founding partner of the United State's largest landscape architecture firm- Eckbo, Dean, Austin and Williams (EDAW). He designed too many well known and beautiful projects to list them all here, but a few of note are the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, the demonstration gardens in Golden Gate Park and the Cabo Real Resort. He also was involved in urban planning for towns all over the world, from downtown Bryan to the harbor town of Thesen Islands in South Africa. He served on the Architecture Accreditation Board, was inducted as a Fellow into the American Society of Landscape Architects and was honored with the Outstanding Alumni Award by the College of Architecture at Texas A&M.

Not only did Don shape the future of landscape architecture through his projects, but also through his passion for mentoring students. He did so first as a professor at the University of California Berkeley, then for 25 years at Texas A&M University with 7 years as department head. The annual Christmas party at the Austin's was an event the students, Don and Maria looked forward to every year!

Don met his wife, Maria van de Laar on a fated trip to Guam where she was the senior purser in first class. A first date in Guam, led to a wedding in San Francisco in 1973 and 49 years of adventures and building their family. Don's greatest pride and joy were his wife, children and grandchildren. He did not let a day pass without letting them know he loved them. They, the students he taught and the friends he cherished are his true legacy. He loved his weekly lunches with friends. Mondays for burgers at Margie's Downtown Bar & Grill and Wednesdays with the Romeos (Retired Old Men Eating Out). He is survived by his wife Maria Austin, son Ryan Blair Austin and wife Christy of New Braunfels; daughters Kimberly Land and husband Erick of College Station, and Amanda Sierocinski of Austin. As well as 9 grandchildren; Jackson, Samantha and Whitley Austin; Cristiano and Maile Gallego; Krue and Drake Land, and Teo and Austin Sierocinski. We take comfort in knowing that he is with his Heavenly Father (probably listening to Pavarotti and bird watching) and we will see him again.

Visitation will be from 5 - 7 pm Friday, October 15 with a rosary service at 7:00 pm at Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan. Funeral Mass will be on Saturday, October 16 at 11:30 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church, followed by lunch in the Parish Activity Center. You may livestream the service at facebook.com/memorialbryan The private interment will be at the Aggie Field of Honor with a military tribute.

In lieu of flowers, please consider performing a random act of kindness in his memory. Memorial donations may also be made to a charity of your choice.

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Jackson Austin
  • Cristiano Gallego
  • Maile Gallego
  • Samantha Austin

Services

  • RECEIVING OF GUESTS

    Friday, October 15, 2021

  • ROSARY & VIGIL SERVICE

    Friday, October 15, 2021

  • MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL

    Saturday, October 16, 2021

    VIEW VIDEO

Memories

Donald Blair Austin

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Dr Chris MULDER

October 15, 2021

My Wife Pat and I and our four kids arrived in College Station May 1978 from South Africa with 12 suitcases.
We got to stay in one room in the Holiday Inn ,then in Texas Ave......a double bed and four roll in beds .
The next day Maria heard of our condition from Don and she came to our rescue and found a place for us to live.
I had the wonderful privilege for three years a TAMU to listen, talk and learn from this giant of a man who shaped and forged my life and professional career. So began and started a lifelong relationship, not only between our families but also on a professional level .........a relationship that endured and stood the test of time. We can state without a shadow of doubt that Don profoundly shaped my career and professional life and our mutual friendship lasted with visits by Don and Maria to South Africa where he helped for two years shaping Thesen Island into what it is today . What an honor and privilege to have know him , worked with him and be a friend of his family. We thank God for this and will never forget it. RIP my dear friend Chris and Pat Mulder

Elo J Goerig

October 15, 2021

Don was one person that I will never forget, together with his sweet wife Maria. Met Don when he developed a project with his students for the organization I formerly worked for. May he rest in peace as I know he is now with Jesus. Maria you are in my prayers.

Mark Hatchel

October 11, 2021

Maria - Don was a wonderful and talented man and many of us were blessed by him returning to Texas A&M as Head of the Landscape Architecture Department in 1974. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. He truly had a long and wonderful life.
Mark Hatchel Class of 78.

Oscar Andrino

October 8, 2021

Don was a great professor, but most importantly he was a great friend. Through his teachings we learned how to appreciate nature and how to work with it. As a man, he taught us how to laugh and love life!
Maria, Ryan, Kimberly, and Mandy please know that we are here for you and we will always hold a special place for Don and all of you in our hearts.

Karen Trekell

October 8, 2021

Maria, Ryan, Kimberly and Mandy, hugs and blessings to you. Our circle has lost a great man and my prayers are for you as you face the days ahead. He, and each of you, will always hold a special place in my heart.
Karen Trekell

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Biography

Donald Blair Austin passed away surrounded by family on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.

Don was born in San Antonio, Texas on July 21, 1931 and grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. Don lived a life that couldn't possibly be contained in one obituary. As his wife, Maria has said “He was pure love” and he lived his life with a love and passion we could all learn from.

Don was a proud member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 1952 and in the Corp of Cadets. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Texas A & M University and later obtained a Masters from the University of Oregon. In between, he was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army completing his training at Ft Sill, Oklahoma.

Don had a long and accredited career as a landscape architect. He was a founding partner of the United State's largest landscape architecture firm- Eckbo, Dean, Austin and Williams (EDAW). He designed too many well known and beautiful projects to list them all here, but a few of note are the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, the demonstration gardens in Golden Gate Park and the Cabo Real Resort. He also was involved in urban planning for towns all over the world, from downtown Bryan to the harbor town of Thesen Islands in South Africa. He served on the Architecture Accreditation Board, was inducted as a Fellow into the American Society of Landscape Architects and was honored with the Outstanding Alumni Award by the College of Architecture at Texas A&M.

Not only did Don shape the future of landscape architecture through his projects, but also through his passion for mentoring students. He did so first as a professor at the University of California Berkeley, then for 25 years at Texas A&M University with 7 years as department head. The annual Christmas party at the Austin's was an event the students, Don and Maria looked forward to every year!

Don met his wife, Maria van de Laar on a fated trip to Guam where she was the senior purser in first class. A first date in Guam, led to a wedding in San Francisco in 1973 and 49 years of adventures and building their family. Don's greatest pride and joy were his wife, children and grandchildren. He did not let a day pass without letting them know he loved them. They, the students he taught and the friends he cherished are his true legacy. He loved his weekly lunches with friends. Mondays for burgers at Margie's Downtown Bar & Grill and Wednesdays with the Romeos (Retired Old Men Eating Out). He is survived by his wife Maria Austin, son Ryan Blair Austin and wife Christy of New Braunfels; daughters Kimberly Land and husband Erick of College Station, and Amanda Sierocinski of Austin. As well as 9 grandchildren; Jackson, Samantha and Whitley Austin; Cristiano and Maile Gallego; Krue and Drake Land, and Teo and Austin Sierocinski. We take comfort in knowing that he is with his Heavenly Father (probably listening to Pavarotti and bird watching) and we will see him again.

Visitation will be from 5 - 7 pm Friday, October 15 with a rosary service at 7:00 pm at Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan. Funeral Mass will be on Saturday, October 16 at 11:30 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church, followed by lunch in the Parish Activity Center. You may livestream the service at facebook.com/memorialbryan The private interment will be at the Aggie Field of Honor with a military tribute.

In lieu of flowers, please consider performing a random act of kindness in his memory. Memorial donations may also be made to a charity of your choice.