In Memoriam: Steve Austin, ND

Dr. Steve Austin        May 14, 1947 – March 10, 2018

(The following is a re-posting of a tribute to Dr. Austin published by the Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians.)

Steve was born in Brooklyn, New York to Joseph and Mollie Austin. He lived in many places around the US but Portland was his home for almost 40 years. Dr. Austin had bachelor’s degrees in psychology from Antioch College and human biology from Kansas Newman College, plus a doctorate in naturopathic medicine from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Steve was a Naturopathic Physician, master teacher, and author. He was the Professor of Nutrition at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon and headed the nutrition departments at Bastyr University in Seattle and the University of Western States in Portland. He was on the faculties of four naturopathic colleges in North America. His expertise led him to co-author and contribute to several books as well as editing several medical nutrition review journals and acting as a consultant to the natural products industry. Steve’s voluminous knowledge of nutrition and his natural abilities as a teacher led him to lecture at international nutrition conferences.

Living a life of passion – that was Steve. Music was one of those passions. Steve was an accomplished jazz pianist who played with many well-known musicians. You could always engage Steve in conversations about jazz and listening to classical jazz music. He had an unsurpassed breadth of knowledge of jazz history. Along with his wife Cathy, they had a life long interest in historically correct house interiors. Their houses were works of art, and they helped many others develop that sensibility of interior house design. Their work appeared in numerous home tours, books, and national magazines. They were featured on the television show This Old House.Nothing stimulated Steve more than good food and good conversation about medicine, music, and house restoration.

Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Mollie; and is survived by his wife Cathy Hitchcock; brother Jeff Austin; nieces Lisa Hagar and Stacey Crabtree; nephew Bryce Austin; niece Lyrah Bushnell.

Disposition was by cremation at Crown Memorial. Remembrances can be left at

A private celebration of life has been held. Memorial donations can be made to Preservation Hall ( or George Fendel Presents – jazz piano concerts at Classic Pianos (4320 SW Corbett Ave. #306 Portland, OR 97239 – with a note on the check “in memory of Steve Austin”)


A Personal Note:  I was fortunate to have been a student at Bastyr when Steve taught the clinical nutrition segment of the curriculum.  He was one of the best teachers I have had.  Steve was bridging the gap between natural medicine and modern science before the term ‘evidence-based medicine’ was in common use as it is today. His academic and analytic standards were very high and yet he had a generous spirit, an open mind and clear and comfortable way of communicating.  Steve’s courses and presence in the profession were a highlight of my experience and I’m confident the majority of my ND friends and colleagues who knew him feel the same.  All the best to you, Steve – and thank you!

Bob May, ND

Comments are closed.