Obituary: George Austin-Martin
October 24, 1939 – November 21, 2020
George Geer Austin-Martin died at his home in Glenwood Springs on November 21, 2020, at the age of 81. For most of his life his greatest pleasure was teaching students of all ages, motivating and enriching lives. He also was an entrepreneur who started a computer education school in Santa Fe NM, in the 80s and a science-education business called The Think Tank in the 90s.
George is survived by his wife of 48 years, Linda; four children, Stephanie Martin, Dolly Marie Aubuchon, Spencer Geer Austin-Martin (wife Lan), and Connor David Austin-Martin, as well as five grandchildren, Cady Duke, Kathryn Grant, Jennifer Aubuchon, James Nam Austin-Martin, and George Minh Austin-Martin. At 11 months, his youngest grandchild George (Geo) Minh Austin-Martin bears his namesake as well as his insatiable curiosity and warm smile. He also is survived by sisters Delores Ann Guillot and Mary Rowlison and beloved aunt Edith Williams.
George was born to Dolly Geer Martin and William Lafayette Martin in Mobile, Alabama on October 24, 1939. A mischievous child, he became grounded with ham radio, spending many hours in a bedroom ham closet. Despite never graduating high school, George maintained a passion for learning and education throughout his life. He enlisted in the US Navy where he served five years working on radio communications and cryptography. His service took him around the world and at the height of the Cold War his unit was deployed as part of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
After completing his Naval service, George put himself through Lamar University while working as a longshoreman, later receiving a PhD in mathematics and education from the University of New Mexico. While working at Los Alamos National Laboratory he met his future wife, Linda Austin, in what George recalled as a moment of ‘love at first sight.’ The two were married on July 1st, 1972 in Joplin, Missouri.
In 1989 George and Linda moved to the Roaring Fork Valley where George ran an education business, The Thank Tank, well known to many children in the area. It is reported that students still have rockets, electric motors and other handmade projects in their childhood closets. George was a prolific educator, having taught math at Stephens College, Vassar College, the College of Santa Fe, Colorado Mountain College and local high schools. He started the mathematics program at Bridges High School which gave him immense satisfaction.
He positively impacted the education and lives of hundreds of his students, many of whom attributed their success and choice of university major to his influence. Upon retirement George was granted an honorary high-school diploma from Bridges High School, concluding an unorthodox but memorable educational journey.
George was scrappy and hard working. He enjoyed working with his hands as much as with his mind and challenged himself and those around him to strive for their best. He was a great teacher to those willing to work for understanding; he was not one to give out formulas. In his retirement George volunteered to make rockets and other science projects with schools, nonprofits and neighborhood children. He was a kind man. In the last years of his life, Lewy Body Dementia slowly impaired his mind and body. A sense of humor survived until the end. Hospice was stellar in its support the last year of his life. The family is especially grateful to his aides, caregivers, nurses, chaplain, volunteers, administrators, all who helped him remain at home. Donations to honor George Austin-Martin may be made to Home Care and Hospice of the Valley, 823 Grand Avenue, Glenwood Springs 81601 or YouthZone, 413 9th Street, Glenwood Springs.
A celebration of life will be held when family and friends can safely gather.
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