Austin D. McKay

Austin DeCordova McKay was born November 30, 1923 in the town of Belfield, St Mary Parish, Jamaica to the late Ella and Simeon McKay. He had two sisters, Edna and Una, and two brothers, Alvin and Berkley.

Austin completed his education in Jamaica. He first moved to the United States in 1946, as a worker in the sugar cane industry. While working in Belle Glade, Florida, he met and married Lillie Adams. This marriage ended in divorce, but produced a daughter, Gloria.

Austin moved to Rochester in 1951. He worked at Bausch and Lomb, Fisher Optical Company and was a chef at Holiday Inn, first in Henrietta and later in Greece. While at Holiday Inn, he bought a hack plate, and drove a taxi part-time. Austin retired from Holiday Inn after 16 years, and became a full-time taxi driver; he eventually bought a second taxi and hired an additional driver. At a time when many of his peers were permanently retired, Austin embarked on his next career, as a school bus driver. Always a smart dresser; bus driver Austin wore a dress shirt and tie every day. Also, the students had assigned seats on his bus, as we discovered one year when he volunteered to drive for a church outing. Long after retiring, Austin continued to keep in touch with special students, following their school progress and transition into adulthood.

Austin married Joyce Siplin in January 1960. Their marriage produced four children, Leisha, Patrick, Paula and Marc. After visiting several churches, Austin and Joyce joined Trinity Presbyterian Church, which was closer to the Anglican Church tradition that he grew up with than Joyce's Baptist Church. Austin served the church (now Trinity Emmanuel Presbyterian Church) in many ways over the years: as a Trustee, a member of Session, on the Personnel and Property committees. But he was best known as the chief cook for countless church dinners and for the annual clambakes. Austin and Joyce also attended Irondequoit Presbyterian Church; which Austin continued to do after her passing, often attending services at both churches on the same day.

Austin's good works were not limited to the church. For many years he was a volunteer poll worker for local elections, although he could not vote himself until he finally became a naturalized citizen in 1981. He also volunteered with the Police and Citizens Together Against Crime (PAC-TAC) program, walking the streets of the 19th Ward. Socially, Austin and Joyce belonged to the Caribbean Club, and attended their annual Jamaican Independence Ball throughout the Sixties and Seventies. They also belonged to a group called the Chit-Chat Club, mostly church members who gathered for food and fun after church. More recently, Austin met with friends several times each week at the Mall at Greece Ridge Center, where he walked multiple miles before sitting down to enjoy coffee and conversation.

After a sudden illness, Austin departed this life on Tuesday December 26, 2017. Austin was predeceased by his wife, Joyce (Siplin) McKay, son Patrick McKay, daughter Paula McKay, grandson Parris Williams, sister Edna Guy, and brothers Alvin and Berkley McKay. He is survived by his children, Gloria Williams, Leisha McKay and Marc McKay; granddaughter Courtney (Mark) Winns; great-granddaughters, Desiree, Nia; and Paris Winns; sisters, Una Cole, Pat McKay and Shirley McKay; brother, Aldon McKay; brothers-in-law William Siplin and Willie (Barbara) Weaver; sister-in-law, Mary Siplin; special friend Flora Reynolds; many nieces, nephews and friends.