Mary Elizabeth Austin, daughter of William Frederick and Fern Lilian (Floerke) Engelking was born February 1, 1938 in Indianapolis, Indiana and departed this life on May 22, 2019 in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the age of 81 years.
She lived a life of service to others.
Her passion was bringing joy to those with disabilities.
As a young mother of two in her early 20's she became an advocate for disabled children, she felt strongly that they should be included in everything that any other child would be a part of. This was in the late 50's and those with disabilities were often times excluded.
In the 60's she joined the Hearty Helpers Club of Corpus Christi whose mission was to arrange opportunities for the disabled children of the community. The children were treated to special events such as Christmas parties with special visits from Santa and an opportunity for the children to ride on a float with Mary in the towns yearly parade.
She was also on a committee of the Police Activities League in Portland TX and was instrumental in opening a youth center for teens.
She was an accomplished artist and often won contests she entered her paintings in. She was hired to design window displays for Lichenstein's Uptown, an upscale department store in Corpus Christi.
When her son and daughter were in elementary school , she was always the mom that volunteered to be the den mother for scouts, the home room mother at school, whatever the need, she volunteered.
In the 70's she moved to Arkansas and was employed as activities director of the Newton County Nursing home. She was an advocate for those living in the nursing home who never received visitors. With her love of crafts she taught the nursing home residents to make stuffed animals which were donated to the Crippled Children's Colony of Conway Arkansas. She wrote letters to the editor of the local newspaper each week asking people to become involved with those less fortunate.
She became a foster mother to disabled children while living in Arkansas.
She moved to Oklahoma in the 80's and for many years she was employed as Activities Director at the Sheltered Work Shop of Tulsa. The workshop provides activities and job training for adults with mental and physical disabilities. At the shelter she was the Boy Scout Leader of the workshop for the men who didn't get to be boy scouts when they were children.
She was a Special Olympics coach for many years.
After her retirement she kept in touch with her "kids" she was a foster mom to, her "kids" from the workshop and the "kids" she coached in Special Olympics.
Her favorite things to talk about were the things that brought her the most joy in her life. Her dog Sammi who was her beloved companion, her son-in-law Dan who cared for her as if she was his own mother, she looked forward to Mondays knowing he would be stopping by after work to visit her, her greatest joy was visiting with her great granddaughter Aralyn whom she spent numerous hours with playing games, baking cookies, dressing up for tea parties, setting up lemonade stands and painting great works of art.
Mary was married to Mack Hill late in life and he precedes her in death.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her brother William F Engelking Jr, her brother James Leroy Engelking, her husband Paul Dean Austin Sr, her son Paul Dean Austin Jr and her grandson Aaron Lee Henderson.
Mary is survived by
Her brother Joseph Perito
Her daughter and son-in-law Paula and Dan Corle
Her grandchildren :
Randy Henderson, Adam Henderson, Rachel Lofton, Daniel Henderson, Jacob Henderson, Corey Austin, and Chelsea Austin.
Her great grandchildren:
Kylar Henderson, Caiden Henderson, Owen Henderson, Addie Henderson, Aralyn Lofton, Addison Austin and Jaden Austin.
Graveside services were held, Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. in the Stilwell City Cemetery with Bro. Dan Wiggins officiating.
Interment followed under the direction of Roberts/Reed-Culver Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to St. Francis Hospice, Tulsa, OK
To send flowers to Mary's family, please visit our floral section.