Austin's Final Interview - January 26, 2008
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Austin was born on April 7, 1926 in Salem, Massachusetts (The home of the witches – and in fact, he had a long lost relative who was a witch and was burned at the stake). He was the sixth of eight children born to Eugene Newell Shute of Searsport, Maine and Dorothy Dunn of Medford, Massachusetts. Of his seven brothers and sisters, all but one sister served in the Military. His siblings were: Eugene, Norma, Edward Parker, David, Frances, Marjorie and Robert. Austin and Parker are the only two still alive.

Austin was raised in Melrose, Mass. However, he has always called Pigeon Cove, Rockport Massachusetts his home. His parents purchased a little cottage there and they spent as much time there as possible. He ice skated on the ponds in the winter and swam in the quarries in the summer. At age 12 he went to sea aboard commercial fishing vessels. “Bib” Hillier took him under his wing and they became life long friends. Austin has said many times he learned more from Bib than any other man he had ever known. The sea has always had a strong pull on Austin’s heart strings. If he could re-join the Navy today, he would in a heartbeat.

At age 17 Austin joined the Navy and went “off to war”. He served on an LST and was stationed in Sasebo, Japan. He always says his back injury was from a bayonet, but it was really from changing a tire on a jeep in Sasebo. Sounds good, though. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in June, 1946.

He came back, entered Dartmouth and flunked out. He decided he wanted to be a journalist and heard MU had a really good J school. His dad gave him $5.00 to get back here from Massachusetts and he set out hitchhiking. He had a little money left when he arrived in Columbia, Mo. He started J school and about a year later, decided he wanted to go to law school. He walked over to the law school, told the dean he wanted to enter law school. There was no test – he just started the next semester.

He graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with his B.A. in 1950 and J.D. in 1952. He was a former assistant county prosecutor during the 1950’s. Austin is an old-school lawyer, proud of his profession and the way he practices. He has never turned a client away because they were unable to pay. He has always given the destitute and forgotten a voice. There was actually a time in his life when he accepted green beans for a fee.

Austin was admitted to practice in the Missouri Supreme Court in 1952 and the United States Supreme Court in July 1989. He served as Honorary Staff for Governor Hernes in 1965. With the exception of the few years prosecuting, his work has been mostly in the field of criminal law.

The colorfulness of his law practice has been through some of the clients he has represented: the original flower children, hippies, yuppies, yippies, S.D.S., Weathermen Underground, several motorcycle clubs, and most the most fun – the Black Panthers. Much of his work has been pro bono. Pete O’Neil once came to his apartment with a boa constrictor wrapped around his neck. The snake later bit him. He was always able to keep the Panthers under control and well behaved around the police, which is where they were most of the time!

One of Austin’s most memorable times in his life was when he began the fight for civil rights in 1946. This battle against those who would discriminate against persons of color, or different religious went on for many years. There were some individuals who accomplished more than Austin, but none who served longer and harder in the trenches.

Austin and Judy have been married for 36 years this December 22nd. They were married here in Kansas City and honeymooned in Hawaii. They have two children, Carrie Beth Shute (Dimino) and Shannon Nicole Shute (Howe). They also have five children from a previous marriage: Michael Conrad, David Austin, Daniel Connor, Susan Elizabeth (Deceased) and Austin Francis Shute, Jr. Their children give them much delight. They also have several grandchildren: Benjamin, Parker, Jacob, Ryan, Casey, Matthew, D.J., Nick, Molly, Zenon, and Miles. Trailing along are two great grandchildren, Whitney and Tristan.

Austin and Judy have traveled extensively, which is one of their great joys. They have been on numerous cruises, as well as having traveled to Tahiti, Canary Islands, Switzerland, England, Ireland, Spain, Canada and many places in the U.S. This, of course, does not include Austin’s cruise to Sasebo in 1943 aboard the LST. In recent years they have taken several train trips, which they have decided is the very best way to travel. You can see things you could never see from the sky or the road! Then, of course, there was the trip to Nigeria which Austin took to meet with a client. They would not let Judy in the country, so he left her in Switzerland. She had no idea when he was leaving Nigeria and he had no idea when she was leaving Switzerland, but they ended up in the same line at Heathrow Airport going through customs! This was way before cell phones…………..

Austin semi-retired in 2000 but has continued to keep his feet in the legal waters by doing pro bono work for the Missouri Bar Association. He still enjoys a good fight!

 

FULL OBITUARY NOTICE

Austin Francis Shute, Lawyer
"Case Closed"

After a long and sometimes courageous battle with life, and it's many trials and tribulations, Austin finally gave up the ghost.

He was born on April 7, 1926 in Salem, Massachusetts, the sixth of eight children born to the union of Eugene Newell Shute, Searsport, Maine and Dorothea Dunn, Medford, Massachusetts. Of his seven brothers and sisters, Eugene, Norma, Edward Parker, David, Frances, Marjorie and Robert, all but one sister served in the military. All predeceased him (except for Edward Parker Shute of Gainesville, FL.)

Austin claimed as his hometown, Pigeon Cove, Massachusetts, where he went to sea aboard commercial fishing vessels at the age of 12. He learned more about life from these fishermen than anywhere else, and there was not a day in his life he did not have memories of the rough and tumble life at sea. It was a period of his life that served him well in later years dry docked in Missouri.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1943, and served two years as a signalman in the amphibious forces in the Pacific and Japan.

Married to Judy Shute, his beloved wife of 37 years, Austin leaves six children, Michael (wife, Rhoda), David (wife, Joy), Austin Jr., Daniel (wife, TaSeena), Carrie (husband, Joseph) and Shannon (husband, Jeffrey). He was pre-deceased by one daughter, Susan Elizabeth. He loved his wife and children, and was only sorry he had the inability to show that love as much as he should. He is survived by grandchildren, Ryan, Casey, Matthew, Parker, Jacob, D.J., Nicholas, Molly, Zenon, Miles and Benjamin, as well as two great grandchildren, Whitney and Tristan.
Austin was an old-school lawyer, proud of his profession as he practiced it, and was proud of never turning a client away because they were unable to pay, and of giving destitute and forgotten a voice.

Austin graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with his B.A. (1950) and J.D. (1952). He was a former assistant county prosecutor during the 1950's, (the first to warn about organized crime), and again as Drug Count Prosecutor in 2001. He was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Missouri Bar, as well as a number of other State and Federal courts across the country pro hac vitae. Austin was never a great lawyer, but always a good one, and did much of his work pro bono, including serving on the Supreme Court Disciplinary Committee, Fee Dispute and Complaint Resolution Committee, as well as Mediation and Arbitration, all for the Missouri Bar.


Among others, he represented the original flower children, hippies, yuppies, yippies, S.D.S., Weatherman Underground, the Black Panthers, 1% Motorcycle clubs, many of whom, except for the 1%ers, grew up to be conservative right-wing Republicans.

Austin belonged to too many civic and political groups to list, and was proud of the fact that his fight for civil rights began in 1946, on his discharge from the Navy. This battle against those who would discriminate against persons of color, or different religions went on for many years. There were some individuals who accomplished more than Austin, but none who served longer and harder in the trenches. He always lived the adage that it is the intellectuals who start wars, and the grunts who have to win them.

Austin was a Catholic, a member of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, where he served as a lector, Eucharistic minister and former lay presider. He was a 4th degree Knight of Columbus, member of the Holy Name Society and served on the Parish Ministry Council. He was not as good a Catholic as some, but like everything else in his life, he had his moments. He will be cremated. A visitation will be Tuesday, February 5, 2007 from 4-5 pm at St. Catherine's, 4101 East 105th Terrace, KCMO. The memorial service will begin at 5pm followed by an Irish wake immediately after the memorial at 3707 E. 104th St., Kansas City, MO 64137.

Please, no flowers. The cloying smell of flowers at funerals always made Austin ill. If you want, make a contribution in his name to you favorite charity, or to St. Catherine SPRED (Special Religious Education for the Developmentally Disabled).

Finally:
"With rue my heart is laden
For golden friends I had,
For many a rose lit maiden
And many a light foot lad.

By brooks too broad for leaping,
The light food lads are laid;
The rose lit girls are sleeping
In fields where roses fade."
A Shropshire Lad, by A. E. Houseman

THE DEFENSE RESTS!