Robert David Austin Jr. of Sparta, N.J., passed away on Lake Hopatcong on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021.
He was born April 6, 1972, to parents Robert David and Susanne Austin.
His last moments could not have been scripted better if he wrote them himself: he raced off on his hockey skates, to the soundtrack of his loved ones’ laughter and surrounded by family and friends. Jefferson Township Rescue Squad responded and did everything they could to revive him. Cause of death remains unknown, but he would have been proud that his final moments were in JTown blue and gold.
Rob was the younger brother of Joanne (Jodi and her partner of Jim Fay) and he grew up in Lake Shawnee. He graduated Jefferson Township High School in 1990, where he lettered in football and baseball. Rob earned a degree from East Stroudsburg University in 1994 with a bachelor of science in exercise physiology, while also playing hockey and pitching for their baseball team. He worked as a personal trainer at Lucent Technologies before joining the staff at Black Bear Fitness and then opening his own gym, RDA Fitness in Byram. Most recently, Rob found his “true calling” as maintenance supervisor at Knoll Properties, affording him the opportunity to apply his mind and talents to help others.
In addition to his parents and sister, Rob is survived by his wife of nearly 20 years, Julianne (Kent) Austin and their three precious children, Tucker, Evelynn and Rhys.His lifelong devotion to sports and coaching was rewarded when he met his wife while working as the freshman football coach at Sparta High School. The sister-in-law of longtime Head Coach Pat Shea, Julie arrived for a post-game victory celebration at The Central Restaurant and the rest is history. They were married on May 24, 2002.
Rob coached Baseball, Softball and Lacrosse at Sparta High School as well. Rob has since shared his passion for the Yankees and baseball with his three children, often coaching their teams or supporting them from the sidelines. He is one of the few dads ever to help coach a local Girls on the Run team. He will be fondly remembered and missed by everyone he encountered, except for the unfortunate deer to find their way across his hunting blind.
His incomparable personality meant that he was blessed with close friends that became his family and family that automatically became close friends. These include Julie’s parents Gary and Lucille Kent, numerous brothers and sister in laws, nieces, nephews and their own children, as well as his beloved “Maustins.” We are inspired by his faith in Christ, his devotion to the St. Joseph’s Regional School and Pope John communities, as well as the multiple little league sports teams he coached. We take comfort in knowing he is in heaven with Gary and Sue, tapping his wedding band against the glass for a refill and prepping the fire pit. Save us a spot Robby; we love you so much.
A memorial service was held Feb. 8 at Goble Funeral Home, Sparta.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations made to the family’s GoFundMe page would be greatly appreciated; bit.ly/2LzdWCW.