Austin Kyle Stanfill
Peace Corps hopefull was 'a force of nature'
Published: Monday, September 2, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 2, 2013 23:09
Bruce Stanfill laughed when he described his son, Austin Kyle Stanfill, as a “force of nature.”
Austin, a graduate student studying international economic development at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, was full of energy and constantly smiling.
“You definitely knew when he came into the room,” Bruce Stanfill said. “I’m a little biased because I am his dad, but any person who knew him loved him.”
Bruce Stanfill said his son was enthusiastic about life, his studies and helping others.
“If it was for a party or for work, he was the first guy there and the last guy to leave,” Bruce Stanfill said. “He didn’t do anything in half measures. It was all or nothing.”
Before Austin attended the Bush School, he completed his undergraduate degree in international studies and communication at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Austin spoke French, and studied abroad in France and Taiwan while he was pursuing his undergraduate degree.
Bruce Stanfill said he was amazed at how many friends reached out to their family from home and from abroad after Austin’s death.
“We ended up broadcasting his funeral service live on the Internet because he had so many friends around the world,” Bruce Stanfill said. “He had friends everywhere from down in South America to all over Europe.”
Austin had aspirations of going into the Peace Corps, marrying and furthering his work in the field of micro-credit financing.
During his undergraduate career, Austin raised funds to provide startup capital for villagers in the Yucatan so they could start their own businesses. Bruce Stanfill said Austin wanted to continue his work helping developing countries and micro-credit financing not only after graduation, but while he was still pursuing his graduate degree.
“That was really his passion,” Bruce Stanfill said. “What he really wanted to do was help people who couldn’t get help otherwise.”
Bruce Stanfill said Austin had a love for the outdoors.
“One of the things that Austin was proudest of was a high adventure trip he did with the Boy Scouts at Philmont in one of their leadership programs,” Bruce Stanfill said. “That leadership course was really a game-changer for him. He went from being a part of the crowd to taking that step forward to becoming a leader.”
Bruce Stanfill said his son lived life to the fullest, whether he was working, traveling or spending time with his closest friends.