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Merelle M. Austin, decorated Korean War veteran

Aug. 28, 1932 – Jan. 7, 2016

Merelle M. Austin, of Corfu, a decorated Korean War veteran, died Thursday in Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center after a long illness. He was 83.

Born in Buffalo, he attended Buffalo schools through 10th grade and received his high school diploma in 2012 through the state Division of Veterans Affairs Operation Recognition program.

He served as an infantryman and radio man in the 25th Infantry Division in the Korean War. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his bravery in kicking a grenade out of a foxhole in North Korea in November 1951. Seriously wounded, he was hospitalized for three months in Tokyo, then returned to duty as a military policeman, riding supply trains.

Mr. Austin worked as a painter for 33 years for Bennett Manufacturing in Alden. After retiring in 1998, he worked as a security guard at Adesa in Akron and at Darien Lake.

He was a member of the Darien Seniors, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Corfu.

He enjoyed fishing, traveling, gardening and tinkering with machinery.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, the former Donna J. Rokosky; a daughter, Sandra A.; a sister, Beverly; a brother, Richard; and two grandchildren.

A memorial Mass will be offered at a later date.

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