A Facebook memorial page remembers longtime California student transporter Robert "Bob" Austin, who passed away on Jan. 6 after a four-year battle with cancer. He was 74.
Known to friends and family as "Dobber," Austin was the original CEO of the Antelope Valley Schools Transportation Agency in Lancaster, Calif., in the late 1950s. Austin was also a president of the California Association of School Transportation Officers (CASTO) in the late 1980s. In a statement on its website, the California Association of School Transportation Officials said it "lost a great mentor and pioneer of the transportation industry.
Austin later worked for the California Department of Education (CDE) Office of School Transportation, where former state director John Green recalled Austin was "a true friend and professional" while also maintaining a well-known sense of humor.
"He played jokes on secretaries, staff and students. He would place a critter of some kind on your desk or give you a 'wet willie,' but he was always there when the chips were down," wrote Green on an online obituation guest book. "He love(d) to dance and always enjoyed a good party. There was more than one conference in which the wives of the other attendees waited patiently outside the meeting room doors for Bob to come out and go dancing."
He is survived by brother Robert, sons Brett and Joe, daughter Melissa and seven grandchildren. His family said he did not want "an elaborate funeral," but later conceded to a memorial service in his honor. That is scheduled for Jan. 20 at the Balboa Park Recital Hall in San Diego at 1 p.m. local time. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made in his name to San Diego Hospice.