Henry Vann Austin MD

henry austin

February 3, 1941 ~ February 25, 2023

Born in: Clinton, NC
Resided in: Pinehurst, NC

On Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, our family’s biggest Duke Blue Devil fan gained his celestial wings. Henry Vann Austin, M.D., passed away peacefully at his home in Pinehurst.

Born in Clinton, on Feb. 3, 1941, he was a son of the late James Leon and Louise Vann Austin. He graduated from Clinton High School in 1959, and Davidson College 1963. In 1967 he graduated from Duke University School of Medicine; Internal Medicine and Rheumatology, House Staff 1971.

While attending Duke University School of Medical, Vann joined the Blue Devil Club and campaigned throughout the hospital to encourage staff to attend football and basketball games. The Blue Devil Club became The Iron Dukes Athletic Club of which he was a founding lifetime member. He is a lifetime member of Duke Medical Alumni Association. Vann was inducted into The Founders Society of Duke University, where he received the Sower Award statue.

While in Duke residency, Vann met lifetime friend and traveling buddy Joseph Vilseck, MD. Through Vann’s support with his “college chum,” Dr. Vilseck, the initial reception hall was built and dedicated to them. The reception hall was named in their honor: Austin Vilseck Hall – Duke Sports Hall of Fame.

Vann always said he had Duke Blue Blood. He kept track of all the basketball recruits and would enlighten everyone about his fabulous team. He chose his lifetime seat in Cameron Indoor Stadium on the aisle directly across from the team. He loved traveling with the basketball team to many ACC tournaments, NCAA tournament games and several Final Fours.

Drafted in 1971, during the Vietnam War, Maj. Austin, M.D., served two years in the U.S. Army at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colo. Upon completion of military service, Vann joined the Pinehurst Medical Clinic to support the community in the care of the internal medicine and rheumatology patients. He often said he loved working with PMC and providing care for many types of patients; however, the problem was 24-hour call. In 1995, he left PMC and founded Pinehurst Rheumatology, his medical passion. His patients loved him because he was a “real doctor.” He always had time to sit and talk. If the ladies wore a hat into the office, he had to model it for everyone. His office was decorated with Duke basketball memorabilia and posters. Many thanks to his partner with Pinehurst Rheumatology, Kara Martin, M.D., and office staff Pam, De, Rita, Gwen, Robin, Karen, Suz, Ronnie and others.

Vann was an avid golfer. While in the military, Vann’s dad influenced his decision to join the Country Club of North Carolina. Vann joked that he moved to Pinehurst as a member of CCNC, with his wife and two children, and $100 in the bank. He was a member from 1972 to 2004; and 2010 to current. He played many, many rounds of golf and despised losing. He practiced every evening after work and would play nine holes with anyone who was interested. After nine holes, Lyn never knew how many CCNC assistant pros would be invited to dinner.

Vann would say to say thank you to his lifetime friends Joseph Vilseck, M.D. (Slow Joe), Mike McBrayer (Big Mike), Buddy Mackey (Budman), Barbara Cole (Bobbie), Nell (Lotta Woman) and her husband, the late Jack Hatcher (Hatch-man), John and Helen Hammerschmidt (Hammer and Mz. Helen), Sted Morris, Ed Dalrymple, Raffaele Gironda, Ronnie Durant and many more.

Vann loved his family and friends even more than Duke. He was very proud of his son, “Mr. G, the bumble bee” and daughter, “Ash-Pash.” He loved his granddaughter, Lily “the four-footer.” At the park, he would ride the stationary hobby horse with her so she couldn’t fall off.

The vicious disease, Alzheimer’s, robbed Vann of his memory. While he could not recall names, he always recognized family and friends. Even when he couldn’t express himself verbally, he was always pleasant and loved to sing and dance.

In addition to his parents, Vann was predeceased by his maternal grandparents, Henry Vann Sr. (N.C. State Senator) and Madge Williams Vann; paternal grandparents, Durwood E. Austin and Pauline Gulley Austin; and his sister, Rose Austin.

In 2019, Vann’s wife of 26 years, Lyn Prickett Austin, retired to take care of him. He was her best friend and love of her life. In addition to Lyn, he is survived by his children, Gregory Vann Austin, of Pinehurst, Ashley Austin Kelly (Brendon), of Raleigh; sister, Deborah Austin, of Raleigh; one special granddaughter, Lily Elizabeth Austin, of Pinehurst; and his many fantastic nieces and nephews, Forde Aley (Sherry), Leigh Aley Holmes (Lee), Austin Aley (Christy) Amanda Pulley Penland (Jerrod) and Kelly Austin Kline (Tyler).

Vann & Lyn would like to thank his caregivers for many hours of tender loving care. They would sing to him and dance to make him smile. Lyn could not have survived without these fine people. Many thank-yous to Charles Wall, Alveda Person, Katina Marable, Marsay Smith, Jackie Bloomfield, Evelyn Brewer and Karen McNeill.

A memorial service honoring Vann’s life will be 2 p.m., Saturday, March 4, at Carthage United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Vic Hill presiding.

The family will receive friends at Fry and Prickett Funeral Home, 402 E. Saunders St., in Carthage, on Friday evening from 6 to 8 p.m.

Vann requested you to wear Duke Blue if you decide to celebrate his life by attending his funeral. Instead of saying goodbye to everyone, Vann would have wanted to tell each of you, “Have a great Duke Blue Devil Day!” 

In lieu of flowers, make donations to Iron Dukes Athletics, 110 Whitford Drive, Room 367, Box 90542, Durham, NC 27708; or to Carthage Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1481, Carthage, NC 28327.

Services are entrusted to Fry and Prickett Funeral Home.

Online condolences for the family may be left at PinesFunerals.com.


Visitation: March 3, 2023 6:00 pm - June 15, 2024 8:00 pm

Fry & Prickett Funeral Home
402 Saunders Street
Carthage, NC 28327


Memorial Service: March 4, 2023 2:00 pm

Carthage United Methodist Church
401 McReynolds Street
Carthage, NC 28327


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The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in Henry Vann Austin 's name.

Iron Dukes Athletics

110 Whitford Drive, Room 367, Box 90542
Durham, NC

Carthage Food Pantry

P.O. Box 1481
Carthage, NC

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  1. Our deepest sympathy for you Lyn and family. Vann was a genuine, wonderful guy and a heck of a doctor.
    Yes, have a great “Duke Blue Devil Day” was heard from Vann often.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. I had the pleasure of working for Dr Austin for many years and it was the best job i ever had working with him. I will never forget how wonderful he was to me. God bless your family Lyn. He will be dearly missed.

  3. I’m here for you my niece. God comfort and give you peace. I will donate to food pantry. I love you dearly and you are in my prayers.

  4. So sorry to hear of Dr Austin’s passing. He was my dad’s doctor and we thought the world of him. He was a great doctor and man.

  5. Lynn, I am so sorry to hear of Dr Austin’s passing.Prayers for you as you navigate thru this grief journey.

  6. Lynn and family, I am so sorry to hear of Dr. Austin’s passing, but know that love and prayers are being sent up for you all. He was a wonderful man and will be truly missed.

    Angie C.

  7. I am so sorry to hear this news. Vann was so kind to my elderly mother and myself when we first met at the Ritz Carlton in the Virgin Islands in 2008. He kidded my mother about her cleaning the dinner table and missing certain areas. Vann played along with and delighted my mother. We were happy to meet Vann & Lynn and know that he will be greatly missed. Lynn, you have my sympathy.

    Elizabeth Purcell

  8. My heart aches for you, Lyn, and your family. Jim and I are grateful for the time you and Vann welcomed me into your home during our relocation. I will always remember Vann making me laugh and being a wonderfully kind person. Praying for you and your family. Sending hugs and love.

  9. Lyn
    You have my deepest sympathy.
    I know the heartache you are feeling.
    You will be in my continued prayers.
    God Bless You. Much Love.

  10. Lyn
    I’m so sorry for your loss. You and your husband we’re always the happiest people I ever met. Take care of yourself.

  11. Rest in peace, Vann. We had good times at the Phi Delt house at Davidson, especially at late night dance weekend parties where you knew all the words to every rock and roll song, it’s label, and what was on the flip side of the 45 from your DJ days. And I appreciated your being one of our “study buddies” (my tutor) at Duke to help us all get through organic chemistry. Water skiing at White Lake. It was all good. It’s hard to believe that Alzheimer’s could rob you of that brilliant, kind, and fun-loving mind of yours. Condolences to your family who must have endured a lot while seeing you go.

  12. Vann was truly one of a kind and a great friend to many, even a few Tarheels! We will miss his smile and great sense of humor. Our thoughts and prayers for Lyn, Greg , Ashley and all Vann’s family.

    Christy and Jeff Dotson

  13. With deepest sympathies to Lyn, Greg, Ashley and Lily and all of the family. Celebrating a life well lived whose memories will be cherished forever. Go DUKE! Take comfort in knowing that you all have a SPECIAL guardian angel to watch over you. May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.

    Myrt and Stan Zelek

  14. Thinking about you Lyn & family. Holding you close to our hearts & in our prayers. Love you much Lyn & are here if you ever need a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. So thankful for the special bond you & Dr Austin had as best friends & spouses who loved each other beyond words❤️

  15. I remember Dr. Austin when I worked at the surgical clinic and also he was my mother’s doctor. He was such a good person, doctor, one heck of a
    DUKE fan! May God Bless you and keep you in the palm of his hand lyn and give you peace. 🙏

  16. Lyn, I Have missed seeing you and Vann through the years, and because of the circumstances I am just now finding ou about Vann’s death. I am so very sorry and know you have a lot of pain, because I witnessed the love you have had for Vann, everyday. My heart and prayers are with you.

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