Homewood bids farewell to pillar of the community

Viewpoint: 

The commentary below represents the ideas, observations and opinions of the author.

  Marvin and Marilyn Austin enjoy the 2017 Homewood
  Baseball and Softball parade with neighbor kids. The
  Austins were among the founders of Homewood’s
  youth baseball program and never missed the
  annual opening day parade.
 (Chronicle file photo)
 
Marvin Austin’s funeral on Saturday, April 14, was the first I’ve ever attended that ended with the mourners singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
 
It was a perfect ending to the celebration of Marvin’s 89 years of life. 
 
  Eric Crump
He was a big fan of the game, and an especially big fan of the Cubs. “He loved the Cubs,” was a refrain throughout the eulogy delivered by Lonnie Austin of Frankfort, Marvin’s younger brother. 
 
Lonnie listed the other loves of Marvin’s life: his wife, Marilyn; his children, Rebecca and Daniel; the village of Homewood, that he served as a trustee for a term; and the Homewood Fire Department, to which he gave many dedicated years, retiring as assistant chief.
 
“Marvin shared a lot of love, but he never ran out of it,” Lonnie said.
 
Marvin also loved serving the community. He was one of the founders of Homewood’s youth baseball program back in 1951. He helped establish the park district’s youth basketball program. I won’t list all his accomplishments. The Chronicle published a feature story about him in 2015 that covered many of his contributions to Homewood. The story is at https://bit.ly/2HBPH2T and was in our first print edition in December 2015.
 
One thing he probably didn’t list on his resume: he was also known as the “Candy Man” for his practice of giving Lifesaver mints to everyone he met. Always. Every time.
“If you’ve never gotten a lifesaver from Marvin, you’ve never met Marvin,” Lonnie said. 
 
It was a little thing, but in a world full of stress and conflict, little gestures of kindness do matter. Those little gifts were a sign of someone dedicated to brightening the lives of those around him, whether he was doing something big, like helping start a youth sports program, or doing something small that made people smile. 
 
I owe a debt of gratitude to Marvin for his help in educating me about Homewood. When the Chronicle began in June 2014, I had lived here for a little less than a year. Anyone who purports to run a community newspaper needs to know the community well, so I needed a crash course in Homewood history. I made a habit of stopping by village hall every Saturday morning for the Meet the Mayor sessions to see what was going on and to learn what I could. 
 
Among the regulars who visited most weeks, Marvin was the oldest and wisest. He was glad to share his great wealth of knowledge about the town. I got to hear stories about people, events and businesses of the past. It was Homewood 101. 
 
And there was a good deal of free entertainment in the bargain as he and Mayor Richard Hofeld traded old jokes and good-natured ribbing. Hofeld is a Democrat and a White Sox fan; Marvin was a Republican and a Cubs fan. They had plenty to rib each other about.
 
At the funeral, Hofeld said a few words about his old friend and their many Saturdays hanging out together. 
 
“He would share his wisdom with village staff, residents paying their bills and regular Saturday morning visitors,” Hofeld said. “Marv was a very good man. I treasured our relationship and I’ll miss him dearly.”
 
Same here.
 

About Us

A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.

Letters

Do you have something to say? If you want to inform the community about events, issues, recognitions, concerns, etc., write a letter. 

Send a letter

Correction suggestions

If you see a mistake in The Chronicle, whether it's a typo, a misspelling or an error of fact, please let us know. Our goal is to provide reliable, accurate stories, and if we miss a detail, we want to fix it fast.

Submit correction

Contact Us

A great community makes a great newspaper. We want to hear from you with news tips, story ideas, your photos and accounts of events, corrections, problems, suggestions, etc. Call or write the editors
Eric Crump at [email protected] or 630-728-2661
Marilyn Thomas at [email protected]
Tom Houlihan at [email protected]

For advertising, distribution or general business inquiries, contact Eric Crump at [email protected] or 630-728-2661.

Postal address:
The HF Chronicle
P.O. Box 461
Flossmoor, IL 60422