Austin Michael Freely, age 86, of Manahawkin, NJ, passed away peacefully on Good Friday, March 30, 2018. Born in Newark, NJ he lived in Lyndhurst, NJ prior to Manahawkin where he has resided since 2002. He was a member of St. Mary of the Pines parish where he served as an usher and belonged to the Knights of Columbus.
Austin was a bus operator for NJ Transit for 39 years. He proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War as an aviation machinist on the Midway and Coral Sea. He sailed again in later years, up and down the Hudson River on his boat, the Irish Mist. He served in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and was a member of the Knickerbocker Canoe Club.
Austin was a jack-of-all-trades and enjoyed a challenging building project. He put God, family and country first and was extremely proud of his Irish roots in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo. He instilled his love of Ireland in his children by encouraging their participation in Irish football and dance. He was a member of the North Jersey Irish American Association and St. Brendan’s Gaelic Football club.
He loved the outdoors and spent endless summers in the Catskills with his family and friends. The Big “A” as he was affectionately called, was a leader in organizing activities from haunted hayrides, nightly wiffle ball games, talent shows and the annual Olympics. He loved playing the harmonica around the campfire and eventually with the Garden State Harmonica Club.
He enjoyed hunting in Ireland and loved his many dogs over the years, most recently Dallas, named for his favorite team the Dallas Cowboys.
He is predeceased by his wife of 33 years, Rose and his parents, Mark and Anne Freely and his sister, Mary Suhy.
Austin leaves behind his four children, Ann, Monica, Brendan and Michael, their spouses and ten grandchildren, Cole, Patrick, Milla, Liza, Keira, Ryleigh, Colin, Austin, Benjamin and Ethan as well as his nephew John Suhy and his many nephews and nieces in Ireland.
Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, from 3pm to 5pm and 7pm to 9pm at Maxwell-Tobie Funeral Home, 573 Mill Creek Road, Manahawkin, NJ 08050. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Thursday, April 5, 10am at St. Mary of the Pines Church, Bishop Way, Manahawkin. Interment will follow at Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Wrightstown.
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in his memory to The Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org