Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Austin Augustus Layne, Jr. was born by midwife on July 12, 1936, to the late Honorable Bishop Austin Augustus, Sr. and First Lady Selena Alberta Layne in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the youngest of eight children who all preceded him in death. Educated in the St. Louis Public School system, Austin was a product of Carver Elementary School and Vashon High School, class of 1954. He attended Stowe Teachers College. With a heart for our country, in 1959 he joined the U.S. Army where he became an army medic and later was trained to work on computers. Upon his honorable discharge in 1961, he was employed at the Government center as a computer specialist for the U.S Government where he worked until 1974. In 1960, Austin was joined in marriage to Winona Jackson and to this union was born one daughter, Ingrid Selena Layne.
Austin professed his hope in Christ at an early age and received Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He was a lifelong member of Temple Church of Christ of the Apostolic Faith where his father, the Honorable, Bishop Austin A, Layne, Sr. was the founder and Pastor. Austin remained at TCOC after his father’s death and under the leadership of his brother Bishop Samuel Austin Layne, Sr. He was loyal, dedicated and committed to the work of the Lord and the household of faith. For a short period of time, he found it necessary to step in at the church as Overseer until a vacancy was fi lled. He asked Bishop James A. Johnson if he could borrow Elder Ronald E. Stephens and the answer was, “You don’t have to borrow him, you can keep him.” Under Bishop Ronald E. Stephens’ leadership the church still stands and thrives. Austin never forgot the precepts and example his father instilled in him through the preached word of God, how his father treated mankind, and father to son lessons taught and learned. Faith in Christ was Austin’s foundation. On November 5, 2011, Austin was joined in Holy Matrimony to Eneazer Blissett-Moore.
On July 20, 2023, Austin was awarded the Presiders Award for exemplary and visionary Leadership, sacrifi ce of time, and dedication in service to the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World Incorporated and the Kingdom of God for 75 years. This award was presented by the Presiding Bishop, Theodore L. Brooks. His musical mentor, Bishop Charles Watkins, gave him the opportunity to play for the National Young People’s Convention for the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. He was the national organist from 1953 to 1961. He served in the national music department under the leadership of Bishop James A. Johnson and Bishop Paul A. Bowers. In 2002, he was appointed as board member of the PAW International Music Department of Sacred Arts by Bishop Norman Wagner and subsequently under the leadership of Bishop Horace Smith until 2010. His style of playing was inspired by the late Mother Rose Golder-Morris.
In 1969, Austin found his true purpose in life, and the profession he loved after accepting a job opportunity at Wade Funeral Home under the tutelage of his mentor, Mr. Gilbert Wade Granberry. Granberry later charged Austin to get his Associate Degree in Applied Science from the School of Mortuary Science, St Louis Community College at Forest Park. His additional studies were in Business Administration at Washington University and Webster University.
After working for Wade Funeral Home for ten years, he embraced his destiny and in November 1979, established ownership of the Austin A. Layne Mortuary, Inc. (The Historic Chapel). As Austin acquired employees to work at his establishment, he didn’t take on the role of a boss, he was a servant leader who trained them to serve with excellence and professionalism. Being the visionary leader he was, Austin acquired a building that was once a car dealership and insisted it would be his second funeral home. Even other visionary leaders could not see what he saw, but with his tenacity, determination, grit, and persistence, Layne Renaissance Chapel became a reality and opened for business in 2004.
Austin A. Layne, Jr. was a pillar in the St. Louis Community. He was known for his service to all people, no matter their status or rank. His integrity, care, work ethic, and heart to serve became an exemplary standard in the profession of mortuary science, and in the community. As he was mentored by Mr. Granberry, so has he mentored many in his profession.
Music was an intricate part of the Layne household. He began playing the piano at the tender age of 6 years old (81 years). Austin A. Layne, Jr. was revered as “The Man with The Velvet Voice.” He was a celebrated national gospel recording artist of sacred music and his signature song, “Holy Dove” written by Austin and his mother mirrors his musical gifts. Austin shared his “Velvet Voice” freely locally and extensively throughout the United States singing in concerts, at conventions, funerals, musicals, and as a featured musical guest. He did this openheartedly, never asking for compensation. His music augmented the realization of the true meaning of the human spirit. He had his audiences to listen by not playing and singing loud.
In 1967, Austin released his fi rst sound recording “Austin Layne Sings and Plays -Gospel ‘67” accompanied by the late incomparable L.G. Scott. The late Reverend James Cleveland recognized Austin’s musical talent and was instrumental in him being signed with Savoy records. Two albums were produced under Savoy’s label; “Austin Layne and the Layne Ensemble” which was comprised of his family members in 1970, and “Shadows” in 1973. In 1996, he independently released “Keep On Believing” and in 1999, “I Opened My Mouth to the Lord,” both produced by the late renowned Walter Artis with full orchestra scored and conducted by the late Bob Krogstad with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. On May 2, 2023, Austin A. Layne was recognized and inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame at the Missouri State Capital in Jefferson City, Missouri. Religiously and spiritually, Austin was not bound by denomination. He accepted and respected people’s beliefs and often quoted his father, “Shun... (British West Indies accent) we don’t have it all.” He was a man for all people, and forged lasting relationships with men and women with different beliefs. Because of this, he was a catalyst for his best friend of 67 years giving his life to Christ; Reverend Donald Hunter; Pastor Emeritus, New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church. Austin was a man of character, wit, and charm. He loved to laugh and was touched to tears by the human condition. He was always true to himself and loyal to friends. His heart was as big as life. He never met a stranger and rarely turned anyone away. He would freely give of his fi nances, resources, guidance, and advice. He loved the fi ner things in life and his signature style was always donning a suit, tie, shirt with French cuffs, fashionable cuffl inks, and shined shoes. Austin had a love for electric trains and cars. His height was all of 5 feet 5 inches, but his statue was 10 feet tall. He was a giant of a man and was Beloved by many. After an arduous fi ght with illness Austin Augustus Layne, Jr. yielded his will to the will of God on Sunday evening, October 1, 2023. He leaves to cherish his memory his wife (Bae-Bae), Lady Eneazer Layne, his daughter: Ingrid Selena Layne, grandson: Austin Parker Washington, nieces: Martyl Webster (James Michael), A`ngela Winbush-Polk (Timothy), nephews: Simeon A. Layne, Jr., Samuel A. Layne, III, John Cotten, bonus son: Andrae Blissett, Sr., bonus grandsons: Joshua and Jerimiah Moore, Andrae Jr. (A.J.), Austin, and Aidan Blissett, sisters-in-love: Doristein Parker (Harold), Frieda Goodwin, a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins (Layne, U.S. and Barbados, British West Indies, Jackson & Blissett family), altar God daughters: Tara Mastin, and Winona (Tootie) Ridley, his best friend of 67 years: Reverend Donald Hunter (Arthurine), Temple Church of Christ family, and last but not least, the entire staff and family of Austin A. Layne Mortuary, Inc.