on August 6, 2013 - 9:30 PM
Feb. 4, 1920 – Aug. 4, 2013
Virgil J. Austin, a retired auto dealer, died Sunday in his East Aurora home after a short illness. He was 93.
Born in Charleroi, Pa., near Pittsburgh, he served in the Army during World War II in Dutch Guiana (Surinam), guarding the bauxite mines. Returning from service, he attended Duquesne University on the G.I. Bill and graduated with a business degree.
Mr. Austin first worked as an insurance agent with the Travelers, then in 1952 joined the Don Allen Chevrolet dealership in Pittsburgh, starting as a salesman and becoming general sales manager.
He purchased Phil Amigone Pontiac in South Buffalo in 1966 and opened new showrooms for Austin Pontiac at Union and Orchard Park roads in Orchard Park in 1969. He sold the dealership to Jim Ball and retired in 1993 but could not abandon the auto business.
In 1994, he joined his son-in-law as a partner in Ken Barrett Chevrolet in Batavia and served as vice president, continuing to work until three months ago.
He was a former president of the Niagara Frontier Auto Dealers Association.
A fisherman and an avid golfer, he was a member of East Aurora Country Club. He also was devoted to crossword puzzles and was a lifetime Pittsburgh Pirates fan.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, the former Veronica “Dolly” Kelly; three daughters, Susan Barrett, Mary, and Kelly Abrahamson; a brother, Frank Preite; and a sister, Carmella Podolinski.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 520 Oakwood Ave., East Aurora.