Roy Edward Austin

Published 3:59 pm Monday, July 31, 2017

VIRGINIA BEACH — Roy Edward Austin, age 80, died on July 22, 2017 early in the morning at the hospital with his wife of 39-plus years at his side. This was after an unforeseen complication after a severe stroke two years ago. He was finally scheduled to come home after more than a year of pressure from his wife who watched over him daily for two years. Ed is survived by his wife, Ramona; their two children, Anthony Austin of Virginia Beach, and Heather Austin Logan of Midlothian, as well as a son from a previous marriage, James Austin of Ripley, Miss. He also leaves behind three grandchildren, Lauren Austin of Mississippi and Kylie and Bryce Logan. 

Ed grew up in Ripley Miss., where he was known as Edward, with his older sister, Mary Lois, and younger brother, Bobby. He lived in a simple house absent of modern conveniences until his late teens. He was one of nine students in his class at Palmer school. His childhood highlights consisted of picking cotton, plowing mules, playing baseball and rollerskating. He signed up for the Mississippi National Guard and deployed to Korea. After three years, he was a civilian again until he enlisted in the regular Army.

In the U.S. Army, he was a drill sergeant, fought with the First Infantry Division in Vietnam, and later went to Club Manager School and ran military clubs. His bravery in Vietnam from 1966-1968 earned him a bronze star for Valor. Like many Vietnam veterans, he rarely spoke of the horrors of the war. Yet somehow, during rare down times, along with some buddies, he managed to build an iron swing set for a group of orphan Vietnamese children. He returned to the U.S. and Fort Story in Virginia Beach where he began his new job as club manager and made a successful name for himself as an outstanding manager. There were multiple deployments to Korea and Germany. 

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In 1972, while military manager of the Officers Club at Fort Story, he met his future wife Ramona, who was 15 and worked part-time checking coats. She continued to work part-time in different positions while in high school. They became close over the years, but with his orders to Germany, thought they would never meet again. However, he returned to Fort Story 18 months later and eventually they became engaged and married. One last tour in Korea, and two small children, led to his decision to retire after 23 years of service. 

He made the decision to help an old army friend by becoming his assistant manager of a country club in Monroe, N.C. for three years, giving Ramona her first exposure to farm life. Before long they had acquired a menagerie of livestock. Three years later he was summoned back to Virginia Beach by his old boss to take over as consolidated club manager at Fort Story. This was a dream come true for them. Ed set about making the Fort Story Club a destination for both young and old and his beach patio parties commanded huge crowds. He became involved with the 4H Club and helped his son and daughter show livestock in the yearly competition. He left his position at Fort Story 10 years later to spend more time on their farm in rural Virginia Beach and support his wife’s career as a physician. They later renovated a 1877 Victorian in Smithfield and Ed became active in the local VFW post. He became cook for their breakfast fundraiser and enjoyed the fellowship and outreach programs.

His health made a significant decline about 15 years ago beginning with several surgeries and hospitalizations. He continued to fight back after each set back. Even after a large stroke April 29, 2015, he slowly began to improve and just before he was to be discharged home, he passed away in the hospital.

Ed was known and admired for his work ethic, integrity and love of country. He adored his wife, and loved his family. He was a man who cared little for self-recognition, but loved helping others. He was a stanch supporter of the military and first responders, and the flag they served under. Years ago, after eating at a local restaurant, he went back in to tell the manager that their U.S. flag was improperly displayed. America has lost one of its most loyal citizens. 
Services will include a visitation at H. D. Oliver Funeral Apartments, Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, on Sunday, Aug. 6, from 4 – 6 p.m. A military service will be held on Monday, Aug. 7, 10:30 a.m. at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk, followed by a reception to celebrate Ed’s life at the VFW Post 8545, 223 Washington St. in Smithfield. Online condolences may be made to the family at