Austin Ars Caldwell

Published 12:07 pm Monday, March 25, 2013

Austin Ars Caldwell, of Demopolis, passed away Saturday, March 23, at the age of 86.

Caldwell was born in Demopolis on Jan. 11, 1927, to parents John and Alice Caldwell. Shortly after finishing school at the Marion Institute, he briefly served in the Navy before attending the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) – now Auburn University – where he studied electrical engineering with a communication option.

Caldwell married his high school sweetheart, Jane, on Sept. 7, 1947, in Demopolis. They raised two sons, Austin Jr. (Skip) and Jack, were active members of the First Methodist Church, and enjoyed 58 loving years of marriage.

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Caldwell worked for a number of years at a local radio station before opening his own two-way radio business in Demopolis in 1975. In 1985, he was asked to fill the mayoral seat left vacant when the current mayor resigned to pursue another opportunity. He accepted and went on to serve as mayor of Demopolis for the next 19 years (1985-2004). He loved the city and its people and was grateful for the opportunity to serve it for so many years.

Caldwell enjoyed playing golf and taking trips to the Gulf Coast with friends and family. More recently, he also enjoyed serving as a member of the auxiliary at Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital and treasured spending time with his family.

In passing, he joins his dear wife, Jane, who died in November 2005, and his brother John Jay Caldwell Jr., who died in May 2008.

He is lovingly remembered by his sister, Helen Marshall of Gunnison, Colo.; sister-in-law, Mary Lane Caldwell of Demopolis; sons Skip (Linda) Caldwell of Bay Minette, and Jack Caldwell of Destin, Fla.; granddaughters Andrea (Jesse) Johnson of Demopolis, and Erin Caldwell of San Francisco, Calif.; great-grandson Ben Johnson of Demopolis; his nieces and nephews; and other family and many wonderful friends.

The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 26, at the First Methodist Church in Demopolis and officiated by Dr. Arthur Luckie, with interment to follow at Riverside Cemetery. Visitation will be held at Kirk Funeral Home on Monday, March 25, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.