Meet Our Staff
Carolyn G. Austin
President, a native of Watauga County, Carolyn has been an active part of our funeral service since 1975, when she and her husband Johnnie purchased what was then Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Directors. Carolyn retired after a number of years as school secretary and bookkeeper from Hardin Park School. Carolyn continues to take an energetic part in the day to day operations of Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory.
Deborah H. Miller
A native of Watauga County, Deborah serves as our administrative assistant. Deborah also serves on the Watauga County Board of Education, is a member of Boone United Methodist Church and lives in Todd with husband Joseph.
Reverend James D. Hagaman
Passed away in December of 2011. A life- long resident of Watauga County, James was an ordained Baptist Minister and served several churches in both Avery and Watauga County. James was, most recently, the pastor at Zionhill Baptist Church. James worked for Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory for about twenty years as a funeral assistant. He was married to the former Mayselle Glenn and lived in the Mabel Community.
A native of Watauga County, Hubert is a retired deputy sheriff. Hubert is a member of Holy Communion Lutheran Church, and is married to the former Frankie McGuire. Hubert assists with setting tents and outside maintenance.
Michael J. Austin
A native of Watauga County, Mike returned to Boone in May of 1999 to continue his career in funeral service. Mike holds an Associates Degree in Funeral Service, and is a licensed funeral director, embalmer and a pre-need specialist. Mike is a member of First Presbyterian Church and Snow Lodge #363 AF & AM. Mike lives in Boone with his wife Kristal and daughters Katy and Karen Hopkins.
She is a registered nurse, and works part-time at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home, and is a member of the First Presbyterian Church. Kristal has been a resident of Boone for twenty years and is a native of Sarasota, Florida.
C. Oscar Tyson
after working in funeral service for over 40 years in the Charlotte area Oscar retired to the High Country. Oscar has been working for Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory as a part time funeral assistant since 2002. Oscar lives in Vilas.
Ned Lyons works part time as a funeral assistant. Ned lives in Boone with wife Mary and is a Mason of the Scottish Rite, Shriner, American Legion, DAV, Retired Volunteer with Boone Fire Department, Life Member of Watauga Rescue Squad, past Mayor of Newland, and a member of Grace Lutheran Church.
Frankie is a native of Avery County, and is married to Hubert Townsend. Frankie formerly worked at Shadowline, and is a member of Holy Communion Lutheran Church. Frankie assists with maintenance and housekeeping.
Robert W. Barnes
A native of Watauga County, Bob has been in funeral service since 1968. A graduate of Cincinnati College of Embalming, Bob also holds an Associates Degree in Business Administration from Caldwell Community College. He is a licensed funeral director, embalmer, insurance agent, pre-need specialist, and a notary public. Bob lives in Boone with his wife Vivian and son Nathan. Bob is a member of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus and serves on the Boone Rural Fire Board.
A native of Watauga County, Homer is retired from Watauga Building Supply. Homer is a member of Holy Communion Lutheran Church. Homer assists with setting tents and outside maintenance.
A native of Burke County, Richard has been a funeral assistant since 1997. Richard is retired from Appalachian State University, attends First Baptist Church and lives in Boone with wife Lynn.
Ryan B. Houck
A native of Ashe County, Ryan resides in Fleetwood and is married to Devon and father of Claire. Working in funeral service since 2003, he received his Funeral Service License from Gupton Jones College of Mortuary Science in Decatur, Georgia and is a Certified Crematory Professional. Ryan is a sixth generation funeral service professional.