Derik Michael Nolan Austin was killed on July 7, 2019 in a car accident. He died surrounded by first responders who arrived quickly and worked valiantly to save him. No one else was physically injured in the accident.
He was born June 21, 1983 in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. He was the first and only son of Robert (Bob) Austin and Deborah (Debbie) Austin, who gave him two sassy sisters, a strong work ethic, and an enduring love for the outdoors.
Derik spent his young adulthood in the South. After his house was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, he returned to Helena.
An avid fisherman, Derik made his own jigs. He so adored the long sage-scented walks he took while hunting, that he nearly always managed to wait until the final day of hunting season to find success. He was a masterful game cook and a connoisseur of barbeque who enjoyed hosting loved ones around the smoker.
Derik married Elise Bailey in Helena on April 11, 2014. They had a daughter, Olivia, and a son, Chance. A devoted husband and father, Derik spent his free time introducing his kids to Montana's natural beauty through trips to the woods, long dog walks, fishing and skiing.
Derik liked to fix things. He particularly enjoyed working on cars, but he also fixed appliances, furniture, and anything else broken that he could improve. If it wasn't a computer, and Derik couldn't fix it, it just might be beyond human repair. He recently spent an evening repairing the motorcycle of a stranger who broke down nearby, sending them safely home on a working bike.
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Derik loved dogs, had a passion for rescuing them, and was a long-term donor to the Humane Society.
He also had a unique knack for noticing people, truly seeing them, and knowing just what to say to make them feel cared for and appreciated. His quick wit was a joy to those around him. Each of his loved ones has felt sharply the loss of his caring, his humor, and his near-constant smile.
Derik was preceded in death by his grandparents Robert and Georgia Austin, uncles Rocky Heckman and Danny Schenk, dear friends Josh and Gabriel, and his son Gabriel Roma Austin. He is survived by his wife Elise Austin, children Chance and Olivia, parents Bob and Debbie Austin, sisters Kassandra Austin and Tia (Dave) Corwin and nephew Mason, and grandparents Hugh and Vicki Jenks, along with numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
We are reminded, in his absence, the importance of loving those around us. Derik has taught us that one person's caring can uplift an entire community of people. He is sorely missed.
A benefit and Celebration of Derik’s life will take place from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at the Lewis and Clark Brewery Tap Room, 1517 Dodge Ave, Helena, MT 59601.
In lieu of flowers donations in Derik’s name are suggested to Valley Bank Austin Family Memorial Benefit Fund. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of Derik.