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Austen Doolittle, 89

Austen Doolittle of Weston, long active in Westport area volunteer causes, died July 16. He was 89.

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Austen Doolittle: active volunteer Contributed photo

Austen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, one of five siblings. At 22, he enlisted in the Navy and flew as a radar radioman for search and rescue and typhoon-tracking missions during the Korean War from 1950-1954.

On Dec. 15, 1953, Austen was assigned to base-radio, rather than on-board radio, and narrowly avoided perishing when his plane, crew, and close friends disappeared in a typhoon. He referred to this as both the best and worst day of his life.

After the Navy, Austen returned to finish his bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah where he met his wife, Patricia Edgley. They were married in 1956 and started their life together in Long Island, New York.

Austen earned his master’s degree from NYU and started a 34-year career with IBM that took him all over the world. He and his growing family settled in Weston in 1966. Austen and Patricia raised their four children in Weston and resided there for 50 years.

After retirement in 1991, Austen dedicated his life to enjoying his family, his friends, and to the many charitable organizations that he cared deeply about: Westport Y’s Men, Saugatuck Congregational Church (Board of Trustees and Deacon), Saugatuck Nursery School, Interfaith Housing Committee, Westport Homeless Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Fresh Air Fund, Save the Children, Meals on Wheels, CRIS Radio (where he read news to visually impaired listeners), and many more.

Austen loved vintage cars, photography, painting, acting, fishing, long road trips (28 cross-country trips), sailing, flying, tennis, and (maybe most of all) ice cream. He also made his signature chocolate fudge that he gifted to many during the holidays.

Austen passed along many of these passions to his family and those he loved—especially that love of ice cream.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Patricia Doolittle; his sister, Nancie Witt; his children/children-in-law, David and Sylvia Doolittle, Kathy and Keith Griffin, Alan and Sonia Doolittle, and Mike and Margo Doolittle. Austen was known affectionately as “Padoo” to his 11 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. at Saugatuck Congregational Church.

In lieu of flowers, and in honor of Patty, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Foundation: https://act.alz.org

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