Celebrating the life of Winnie E. Austin
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Winnie Booker Austin was born “eleven-twenty three-twentyfour” (November 23, 1924) as she would often say. She was the seventh of the eight children born to Willie and Mattie Susie Smith Booker in the Sheppards area of Buckingham County, Virginia. She resided in the home of her birth for most of her ninety eight years. She died Friday, October 20, 2023 in Amelia Rehabilitation Center, Amelia, Virginia.
She attended Oak Grove School continuing her education through fifth grade. In her youth, she was baptized at and became a member of Oak Grove Baptist Church. Over her lifetime, she supported various church activities, serving on the missionary and usher boards. She looked forward to annual church homecomings by preparing hearty tasty meals. She delighted in the compliments and requests for her culinary entrees.
Following Winnie’s father death, when she was about three, her mother engaged in tobacco farming to produce income for the family. She depended on Winnie to attend to the many and varied jobs of managing the household. In her twenties, Winnie
married Elijah Austin. This union produced two children.
After marriage, Winnie’s mother requested the new couple to reside with her. In so doing, Winnie lived with and cared for her mother until her death. She also served as surrogate mother for her niece Frances, whose parents lived in New Jersey.
Winnie was employed by the Jones family for many years. After the arrival of her grandchildren, she arranged her schedule to care for them. When they arrived from school, she fed them. She even prepared and sent “plates” (customized meals) for the other family members!
When her children and grandchildren grew up and traveled, so did Winnie! She enjoyed participating in family outings, reunions, vacations and traveling to places such as New York, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, New Mexico among others.
In the spring and summer, she engaged in gardening. She enjoyed preparing meals with fresh produce and shared her garden harvest freely with anyone who visited her. This is a testament of her generous spirit.
Winnie, also, prided herself on how she was appointed. She loved dressing nicely and blushed upon receiving compliments. She had an adventurous spirit and sought out trying new things like learning to drive in her mature years, facing living alone for the first time in her life at age sixty-five and even taking commercial flights for the first time as a senior. She balanced the wonderment of new things while maintaining a deep appreciation and respect for her roots.
Winnie was preceded in death by her spouse, parents and siblings. She is survived by her children: Elijah David Austin, Sr. and Irma Hunter, five grandchildren, one great-granddaughter and a host of relatives and friends.
She is loved, cherished and will be greatly missed!
Viewing Saturday, October 28, 2023 at Oak Grove Baptist Church, 2083 S. James Madison Hwy, Farmville, VA 23901 from 11AM until time of service at 12PM.
Interment church cemetery
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