Judge Austin W. Brizendine, who retired from the Baltimore County Circuit Court in 1985, died Dec. 29 of cancer at the health care center at the Blakehurst Life Care Community in Towson. He was 79.
After he retired, he continued part time on the bench until February.
At the time of his appointment as a judge in 1978, he was president of the Baltimore County Bar Association.
Judge Edward A. DeWaters Jr., chief judge of the Baltimore County Circuit Court, described Judge Brizendine as "very down to earth, a very likable person who just enjoyed being with people. He was an excellent trial lawyer."
Judge Brizendine began practicing law in Towson in 1953. He specialized as a defense lawyer in civil cases, especially those involving automobile accidents.
He also served as an assistant county solicitor from 1957 to 1959 and as an assistant state's attorney from 1959 to 1965.
He was a fellow of the Maryland State Bar Association and a member of the Wednesday Law Club and the Dissenters.
Judge Brizendine served as president of the Towson Kiwanis Club, and he was on the boards of the Towson YMCA and Towson United Methodist Church.
Born in Baltimore, he was a 1933 graduate of City College and worked as a merchant seaman before entering Dickinson College, graduating in 1939. He graduated from the University of Maryland law school in 1951.
He was a Navy officer, who commanded a patrol craft on convoy duty in the South Atlantic during World War II. In the Korean War, his duties included service as a legal officer at the Bainbridge Naval Training Station.
He lived on Kent Island for nearly 10 years after his retirement and was a member of Kent Island United Methodist Church.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Towson United Methodist Church, 501 Hampton Lane.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 53 years, the former Elizabeth Bietsch; two daughters, Grace Bishop of Lutherville and Catherine Tolman of Charlotte, N.C.; a son, Austin W. Brizendine Jr. of Mill Valley, Calif.; a brother, Donald H. Brizendine of Philadelphia; and six grandchildren.
Memorial donations may be made to the Towson or Kent Island United Methodist churches.