Austin George Ralph Dodd (1848-1895)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by F.E. Heape

GEORGE R.D. AUSTIN, son of one of our pioneer ministers, the late Rev. George Austin, was suddenly translated, at the early age of 46 years, on June 29th, 1896. His career, under the Divine benediction, was a magnificent example of a worthy ambition and untiring endeavour, triumphing over almost insuperable difficulties and speedily climbing to a position of power and popularity. His early years were full of suffering, and he was unable to walk until he was twelve years of age; but after his recovery he quickly qualified himself for usefulness, and obtained a position with splendid prospects in the office of a London business house. 

When his father was Superintendent of London First Circuit, the officials requested him to offer himself as a candidate for our ministry. He felt the hand of God was upon him constraining him to abandon the commercial life for the holy work of the ministry, and he obeyed the call and spent a profitable year in the Sunderland Institute. His probationary years were spent in Leighton Buzzard and Newport-Pagnell circuits with pleasing success. He afterwards travelled at High Wycombe, Northampton, Peterborough First, Manchester Fourth, Lincoln First, Derby First, and Nottingham Fourth. 

He was appointed delegate to the Edinburgh Conference when his health failed, and he was deeply grieved he could not attend. He was Secretary to the Nottingham District Committee at the time of his death. His life was a laborious one, and partook of that ‘utter abandon’ for the welfare of his circuits and the connexion. 

As a preacher and platform speaker he was popular and powerful, and was in great demand for special services. He was quick to see, to think, and to act. He could seize and improve an opportunity when speaking, and wonderfully arouse his hearers. He was very sensitive to the electric currents of a large sympathetic audience. He had a keen cultured eye for the beautiful in thought and speech. He was an artist, a beautiful ‘word-painter.’ His sermons and lectures were the ‘well-beaten-oil’ of his much-loved study. They were living sermons, full of the warmth and throb of his own loving heart, and they profited and captivated his hearers. His circuits always prospered. He was a skilful financier, a wise administrator, and a tender. sympathetic pastor. He was thoroughly evangelistic, and his 23 years’ ministry were blest to many souls. The claims of the ministry and his home were a real recreation to him. 

He was a total abstainer and non-smoker. He was abreast of the times on all social, political, philanthropic, and spiritual movements. Any really ameliorative projects found in him a quick responsive heart, which poured its life in unstinted service for the good of humanity. His generosity was well known to the poor and needy, who miss him much. He was a true map, a loving husband and father, a faithful friend, a devoted Christian, a loyal minister of stainless character, and the more he was known the more he was loved. Many friends had predicted a long, useful, and brilliant career for him, little thinking that the ‘sun was so near its setting.’ The claims and trials of circuit life, coupled with the toils of special work, ultimately broke him down, and the few weeks’ change utterly failed to accomplish his restoration. But no one anticipated that his busy but brief life would have the sudden and tragic close which occurred on the Midland Railway near Ambergate. His spirit was cultured and ripe for the heaven-sent harvester. His mortal remains were laid in Lincoln Cemetery, and around the open grave his sorrowing widow, son, brothers, and sisters were joined by many ministers and thousands of friends from all his circuit.

Family

George was born in late 1848 in Bethnal Green, London to parents George Austin and Ellen Dodd.

He married Fanny Collinson (abt1851-1916) in the summer of 1878 at Nottingham. Census returns identify one child.

  • George Collinson Allen Austin (1879-1959) – an inspector of weights and measures (1901)

George died on 29 June 1895.

Circuits

  • Sunderland
  • 1872 Leighton Buzzard
  • 1874 Peterborough
  • 1878 High Wycombe
  • 1881 Northampton
  • 1883 Manchester IV
  • 1887 Lincoln I
  • 1891 Derby I
  • 1894 Nottingham IV

References

PM Minutes 1896/6

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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