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Former judge John Austin retires from county historian post

In 1958, Austin enlisted in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany, as both a company clerk and a rocket launcher.

Austin as local journalist, lawyer, judge

Austin worked at the Glens Falls Times from 1960 to 1966 - first as a reporter, then advancing through several positions to editorial director. Also during this era, Austin served as editor of the Lake George Mirror for several summers.

Austin then enrolled in Albany Law School, received his law degree in 1969, and passed his bar exam. He practiced law locally from 1970 to 1980. During that time, he worked as an attorney for Frederick Bascom of Glens Falls, followed by his own private practice locally.

During that period, he was elected councilman for the town of Queensbury, was elected Queensbury Town Supervisor, and served on the county Board of Supervisors.

While practicing law, Austin worked as a part-time law assistant in surrogates' and county court, followed by a stint as a full-time law assistant from 1980 to 1984 for Warren County Supreme Court.

He was appointed in 1984 by then-Gov. Mario Cuomo, as Warren County Family Court Judge, a position which he was re-elected to. Then in 1999, he was appointed county surrogate court judge, a post which he was re-elected to. He also served on special assignment as Supreme Court Justice, primarily in Nassau County.

Through all these years, however, he was fascinated with history and genealogical research. For decades, he helped many local people and families identify their ancestors. In the 1970s, he served as editor of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, a national publication. That same year, he was named a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, a honor bestowed on only 50 individuals.

When Austin retired from the bench in 2003, he was appointed as county historian, a role in which he served through last Friday.

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