J.M. “Okie” Austin was born January 18, 1949, in Altus, Oklahoma, and died July 31, 2019, in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Okie was called “Dad” by his children, “Grumps” by his grandkids, and “Okie” by everyone else in his adopted state of Georgia. Okie was best known for his career in public service in Cobb and Cherokee counties.
Over two decades, Okie worked with Marietta Police Department, Cobb County Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee County Marshall’s Office, Canton Police Department, and Cobb County Campus Police Division at Sprayberry High School. He also served as Director of Cherokee County Emergency Medical Services.
Okie rose from motorcycle patrol to firearms instructor, detective division, and eventually Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division in Cherokee County. He also coordinated the Community Oriented Policing (C.O.P.) program in Canton.
Okie was known as an officer who listened before he spoke, helped when needed, and served as the go-to person to solve the most difficult problems. At Sprayberry he was known as the officer who wanted to teach rather than punish.
Unknown to many, Okie was injured in the line of duty early in his career and carried that injury for the remainder of his life.
After retiring from public safety, Okie followed his two other passions: building things and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, working with Neon Zone sign company, Killer Creek and Cartersville Harley-Davidson locations where he rose to be manager and won top sales awards on multiple occasions, and with Tuxedo Mosquito Control.
Okie is survived by his son Clint Austin, his daughter Jennifer Bussey, his life partner Cindy Perkins, four grandsons, and a broad list of in-laws, extended family honorary family and lifelong friends. He is also survived by “Spot”, his beloved Dalmatian dog.
A Memorial will be held 2pm, Saturday, August 10, at Piedmont Church, 570 Piedmont Rd, Marietta followed by a reception from 3:30pm to 5:30pm.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Cobb County Public Safety Foundation, which supports public safety officers during times of crisis. To make a donation please visit https://www.ccpsf.org/