Student dies in car accident, friends speak out

Funeral services for Marconi Venzetti Austin, better known as “Bear” to his loved ones and friends, were held Saturday at Zion Traveler Baptist Church in Ruston. Austin, the son of the Rev. Joseph Austin, formerly of the Grambling State History Department, died from injuries suffered in a car accident. Bear, the youngest of six Austin siblings, was born Oct. 24, 1986 and passed away Saturday, Aug. 25 at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport.

He received his elementary through high school education at the Grambling Lab schools. He is a former football player for the Grambling High Kittens.

Reflecting on the life of Marconi was his teacher both on a secular and spiritual level. “I recall Marconi Venzetti Austin as a quiet, well mannered young man,” said Lula B. Wesley, counselor at Alma J. Brown Elementary School.

Wesley said Austin loved to ask and answer questions, and he was a good spiritual leader. He always met challenges head on, she said.

“I worked with him as a Sunday school teacher, in vacation Bible school and youth leader at the Fellowship Baptist Church under Rev. Jessie Hill,” explained Wesley.

Monique Pruitt, a high school classmate, friend and co-worker of Bear, said if she came to work sad or mad he could always bring a smile to her face.