Dear Editor,

An open letter to the kind people of Hawthorne Nevada,

My brother Patrick and I recently spent eight days and nights in your town, where we met so many of you during a time of great sadness for us both. Our Dad, Thomas Boyd Austin born Sept. 13, 1934 had passed away Aug. 18, 2019. Our Dad was an Eagle Scout, an Army Veteran, attended University of Washington and became a Doctor of Chiropractic; he was also a private pilot and a good man. He would have been 85.

We wanted to take a brief moment of your time to let you all know how grateful we are for all of your kindness, and the memories you shared with us. Jay and Jamie at Gunter’s are wonderful people and offered us so much of their time, advice and kindness. Thank you again to you both for everything you did for us. Mineral County Sheriff’s Department was very helpful and compassionate, especially the sergeant on scene Mickey Boyles. (He called and gently broke the news to me at work). Sheila, our evening server at El Cap shared her stories of our Dad and always kept a smile on her face when we would show up late and worn out tired after a long day. Folks I met briefly at Old Nevada Pizza, they made me laugh a little when I did not feel like I could. (I did not get your names, but he works in a gold mine.) You know who you are and I am grateful to you both. Tammy at the county recorder’s office, who was so patient with us despite our frequent return visits. In addition, the people down the hall at the assessor’s office who were also very kind and helpful. To the people at the “Golden Gate” gas station and store who would special order my Dad’s distinctive cigars for him and shared stories of him coming in so often, to regale his stories upon you. I wish I had more time to chat with all of you. Thank you for sharing your stories of my Dad with us and for being a daily light in an old man’s heart and life.

The people of McDonalds; my father-enjoyed breakfast at your place quite often. I think he enjoyed seeing all the people come and go. He had nice things to say about you all.

To the people of Walker Lake who came personally to the house and walked up to shake our hands and tell us how much they loved our Dad. How much they will miss his story telling, and sitting on his deck drinking beer at “Tom’s Tavern.”

For Dave who came to our aid with his long bed trailer and physically hauled things away for us. We can never say thank you enough Dave. We are so very grateful to you.

For Wayne, our dearest friend who gave so much of himself to my father for the last two years of his life. For showing us, his truest spirit of human kindness. We are forever grateful to you, sir.

Personally, I have never spent any time in a small town and I think I may have had my own preconceived ideas of what small town life was all about. Truly, I had no idea what to expect. You all individually change those preconceptions immediately upon meeting you. My brother and I are incredibly humbled by your individual strengths, your empathy and the kindness you showed us both.

Thomas was happy and healthy when he passed away in his sleep. We want you to know that he loved living in Hawthorne/Walker Lake. He made a choice in his life to live there with all of you for the last 23 years and I can see by that choice, that our Dad was indeed a very wise man. We will never forget you.

With sincere gratitude,
Timothy and Patrick Austin