Alvin 'Ernie' Ernest Austin
June 21, 2023
The hardest working man we know went to be with Jesus on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022.
The family invites you to a Celebration of Life on Saturday, June 24, at 2 p.m., at the VFW in Glasgow, Mont. A luncheon will follow.
Alvin Ernest Austin "Ernie" was born on July 7, 1934, to Alvin and Laura Austin in Helena, Mont. Ernie grew up in Conrad and helped his father during the war. He took every Wednesday off school to help butcher hogs at the meat packing plant. Then the family moved to Augusta, Mont., where Ernie played and excelled at both football (wearing a leather helmet) and basketball. He was the team captain and quarterback as well as played center at only 5'11".
After graduation, Ernie joined the military and later the 82nd Airborne Paratroopers as it came with extra pay and the thrill of jumping. While in Fort Benning, Ga., he became a drill instructor but could not stand the humidity, so he volunteered for deployment to Korea. His family was grateful he served his time and came home safely.
Upon return, Ernie's father had purchased a meat packing plant on the Milk River in Glasgow, Mont. Knowing the work this entailed, Ernie decided to attend college in Missoula, Mont. Realizing college life was not the answer, he returned home where he met and married Terry Allen. They moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where Ernie was going to train to be a telegrapher for the Railroad. Realizing this was not for him, Ernie moved back to Montana where his heart was – working at the Austin Meat Packing Plant with his father, Alvin, and brother, George. Terry and Ernie had two children together, Debi (1957) and Ken (1959) before divorcing .
After the meat packing plant closed, Ernie started working at Sam's Supper Club. Here, he met Donna Mae Shanks and fell in love. They had two children together, Brian (1973) and Wade (1975).Working side-by-side, they built their own successful meat shop and commercial fishing business on the Fort Peck Reservoir.
Ernie and his brother George also opened Duck Creek Supper Club and Racetrack in Fort Peck, Mont. The Supper Club quickly turned into a hot spot in the 1970s and early 1980s. Always dreaming and working, Ernie found himself a prominent member of Valley County.
When luck swung the other way, Ernie went to Nevada to work in the gold mines pouring concrete and setting forms. He worked 50-60 hour weeks until his retirement at 77 years old – putting most of the young men to shame! In 2013, Donna Mae and Ernie returned home to Glasgow to be closer to family.
Throughout his life Ernie maintained an immaculate garden. He was meticulous about weeds and a watering regimen often bringing his grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beloved dogs along with him. Donna and Ernie would spend days after the harvest canning and freezing the vegetables to enjoy all year long. Nothing was better than a fruit or vegetable from Ernie's garden!
Ernie shared his work ethic and carpentry/concrete skills with his children and grandchildren. He helped Brian and Ken build their homes and Debi and Wade remodel theirs. He and Travis built a great deck on his home as well. He was not afraid to tell everyone the right way to do things while on the job! Ernie had a hard candy shell on the outside but showed his love through his work and the skills he had to offer. His family meant the world to him, and he was proud of each and every one of them.
Ernie was the hardest working man we all ever knew – he was the first to arrive and the last to leave. Dad/Grandpa – we miss you and think of you often. We know you and Mom/Grandma are together again.
He is preceded in death by his faithful wife Donna Mae (Shanks) Austin; his granddaughter Ashten Austin; brother George Austin; and his parents, Alvin and Laura Austin.
Ernie is survived by a very loving family who looked up to him in every way. Children Debi Austin Miller (Laura, Drew and Cody), Ken (Jan) Austin (Daniel and Maria), Brian (Jenny) Austin (Travis), and Wade (Vanessa) Austin (Aaron and Tylor) and a sister Carol Netolicky.