In Memory of Gerry Aust
Gerry Aust, TPSF board member of 17 years and emcee of our annual Teacher of the Year Dinner passed away in August 2017. We will miss our beloved friend, dedicated volunteer, and passionate supporter of the Tustin Public Schools Foundation. His jovial presence and charismatic personality touched so many people and students here in TUSD and in the community. Thank you, Gerry! We love you!
TPSF has established the Gerry Aust Memorial Scholarship Fund to honor Gerry's legacy in the Tustin Unified School District.
News Release from Mark Eliot, Tustin Unified School District:
In Passing – Gerry Aust
Gerry Aust, a retired teacher, activities director and school principal in the Tustin Unified School District, and longtime board member for the Tustin Public Schools Foundation, passed away on Saturday, August 12, following emergency surgery for a staph infection. He was 78 years old.
Gerry worked in public education for 39 years – 37 of those in the Tustin school district. He started his career as a junior high school teacher in Vancouver, Washington. Gerry came to Tustin in 1963 and, over the years, taught at C.E. Utt and Hewes middle schools, was activities director and assistant principal at Hewes, and served as principal of Arroyo and Marjorie Veeh elementary schools, and Columbus Tustin and C.E. Utt middle schools. Under his leadership at Arroyo, the school was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 1989-90. Gerry was also instrumental in reopening Utt School in 1994 and establishing the Applied Math and Science Magnet Program at Columbus Tustin School.
Gerry retired in 2000, but never really stopped working. He served as an interim principal or assistant principal at almost every school in Tustin Unified, including Barbara Benson, Hicks Canyon, Peters Canyon and Jeane Thorman elementary schools; Columbus Tustin, A.G. Currie and Pioneer middle schools; and Foothill and Tustin high schools. As interim assistant principal, he helped open Hicks Canyon School in 2004.
Gerry remained involved in state organizations such as the California Association of Directors of Activities (CADA) where he served on its state board for six years and was inducted in the CADA Hall of Fame. For 22 years, Gerry and his wife, Diane, volunteered to lead Tustin middle school students to Washington, D.C., shepherding over 2,500 students and making history and democracy come alive for them. Gerry’s passion for his country is well-known; he was known as “Mr. Red, White and Blue.”
Among his many community service activities, Gerry served on the Tustin Public Schools Foundation (TPSF) Board of Directors for 17 years. He and Diane were involved in the Dinosaur Dash 2K/5K/10K race since it began 26 years ago and served as co-chairs of the annual event for two years. Gerry also served as master of ceremonies for the annual TPSF Teacher of the Year Dinner for 16 years and was Honorary Superintendent of the Foundation’s Summer Academy program for elementary and middle school students. Gerry was a longtime member of the Tustin-Santa Ana Rotary Club serving twice as its president and coordinating the club’s high school scholarships program for many years. He served on the Tustin Area Council for Fine Arts’ Encore Group supporting the arts in the community, was a board member for the Assessment and Treatment Services Center, served on the Tustin Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors, and was involved in the Tustin Chili Cook-Off and Tustin Tiller Days. He was also an active member of Red Hill Lutheran Church.
Gerry received several honors over the years, including Tustin Area Man of the Year in 2005, Tustin School Management Association’s Community Service Award in 2000 and 2009 for his contributions to the education of TUSD students, and Orange County Retired Administrator of the Year in 2012 by the Association of California School Administrators, Region 17, for his ongoing volunteer work in education and the community. In 2008, he co-chaired Tustin Unified’s Measure L school facilities modernization bond campaign, which successfully passed.
Gerry is survived by his wife, Diane; sons, Eric and Brian; daughters-in-law, Beth and Dorothy; and five grandchildren. Both of his sons attended TUSD schools and graduated from Foothill High School.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 16, at Red Hill Lutheran Church, 13200 Red Hill Avenue, Tustin. Following the service at 3 p.m, there will be a reception at the Tustin Ranch Golf Club, 12442 Tustin Ranch Road, Tustin.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Gerry Aust Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Tustin Public Schools Foundation at www.tpsf.net.
Cards and letters can be sent to the Aust family at 13861 Holt Avenue, North Tustin, CA 92705.
Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family. Gerry was a TUSD icon and he will be greatly missed.