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Virgil Austin's Biography

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Gore, VA
Married 3 times. The last one for 35 years so far.
Aug 2008

Retired Graphic Artist, late blooming fiction and poetry writer. Died twice, on borrowed time now.

Originally from Texas, I moved to California in 1959 after a 4 yr tour with US Navy, seeing much of Pacific nations and a short stint in the Caribbean as part of the blockade of Cuba. I met my wife in Burbank, Ca, and we opened a Graphic Arts company with our primary customer being Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Made lots of money with them right up to the Shuttle Challenger explosion, when all contracts were frozen as NASA investigated. Our business never fully recovered and we were forced to seek commercial accounts to maintain income. Those slowly died down as graphic arts/printing business was going extinct rapidly, so we cashed in and moved to Virginia in 1999, buying a plot of 17 fully wooded acres on a lake outside of Winchester, Virginia and building a house.
I began having a series of heart attacks, the 2nd leading to a triple bypass. Subsequent ones - I received stents.In the middle of the 4th and most severe one, I flatlined in the ambulance as it pulled into the ER area of the hospital. Luckily, they were able to zap me back. I saw no bright lights, no long tunnels, no familiar faces while I was out(dead). So much for the stories. Or maybe I'm going somewhere else?
2nd time was during the following New Years Eve. I was feeling lousy and weak and a little feverish, so my wife took me to the ER, where I collapsed into unconsciousness just as we were checking in. I woke up 4 days later, full on hallucinations happening in the room, including a cat that stayed on my bed, but noone else could see. Upsetting to my wife and Dr., but fine with me. I had taken several LSD trips in the '60s, but none were like this and I enjoyed watching the room do its tricks. Dr said I had some form of bacterial pneumonia with a temp of 106° and had flatlined again before they were able to stabilize me and bring me out of it. Another stent was inserted. I'm 73 now and not looking forward to the next attack. I don't think I'll survive another. My cardiologist says I'm his only patient in 25 years that has had this many heart attacks and survived. I'm a tank he says, an anomaly.
The last three years I have been painting a mural of Old Testament stories for a local Methodist Church. I finished on Easter Day 2013 and was written up in the local Winchester Star newspaper.

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