Willie Austin Jr. was born on December 1, 1940, in New Orleans, LA, the second of eight children born to Willie Austin Sr. and Susie Austin. Willie attended elementary school in Baton Rouge, LA, and later moved with his father and sisters to San Francisco, CA, where he attended Everett Jr. High. After graduating from Mission High School in 1958, Willie studied at San Francisco City College, where he earned an Associate of Arts degree in Electronic Technology in 1962. He later attended San Jose State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Systems Engineering in May 1976, followed by an MBA from Santa Clara University in May 1979.
Willie’s work career began as a temporary employee with the US Postal Service from 1961 to 1962. In February 1962, he joined Hewlett-Packard Corp. as an Electronic Technician. Willie was one of the founding members of the Hewlett-Packard Black Employees Forum, which created Black Students Day, an event still conducted to this day. Throughout his 30-year career, he steadily advanced to higher positions with more responsibilities, finishing his career as a Marketing Manager. After leaving Hewlett-Packard, Willie became a self-employed real estate investor – buying and flipping houses for more than ten years.
Willie met and married his neighborhood friend, Rebecca (Becky) James, in August 1961. Married for over 59 years, they were blessed with two children, Antoinette (Toni) and William (Bill), six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
As a child, Willie attended Star Bethlehem Baptist Church, Baton Rouge, LA. Later, he was baptized and united with Bethel AME Church, San Francisco, CA. Willie moved his family to Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and finally Milpitas in May 1969. He visited various churches, including Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Jose CA, and officially joined Emmanuel in 1993. Willie loved the Lord and his Emmanuel church family. He participated in many Bible study classes and DITW (Sunday School), and he served on the Stewardship Committee, the Church Bulletin Folding team (lead), and the Trustee Board
(chairman). Willie was respected as the unofficial guardian of Emmanuel’s church budget.
Willie allowed a little time for hobbies such as chess, ping-pong, Bid Whist, and pinochle. He enjoyed tutoring students in math, counseling and encouraging them on the importance of an education. Willie viewed traveling as an extension of classroom learning. Willie and Becky traveled all over the world, and as his children grew, they were also included. Willie loved his immediate and extended family. For more than 40 years, he and Rebecca hosted Family & Friends Day celebrations at their home. Willie was an avid San Francisco 49ers fan, dating back to the days when the team played at Kezar Stadium.
Willie was preceded in death by both parents; his brothers, Elmo and Charles Curry; sisters, Rhoda West, Joycelyn Curry, and Janice Curry. He leaves to celebrate his legacy his wife Rebecca; daughter Antoinette Austin-Dodds of Atlanta, GA; son William (Taren) Austin of Santa Clara, CA; grandchildren Taneisha Patterson of San Jose, CA, William Austin Jr. of Santa Clara, CA., DuRron Chambers of San
Francisco, CA, and Anika Dodds, Kiura Dodds and Derek Dodds of Atlanta, GA; great-grandchildren Zachary Gardner and Anaya Gardner of San Jose, CA; siblings Willie Alma Britton of San Francisco, CA and Mary Mobley of Richmond, CA; goddaughter June Armstead; and a host of uncles, nieces,
nephews, and many dear friends.
In lieu of flowers, the Willie Austin Jr. Scholarship Fund will be established. Additional details will follow.
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