A devoted husband, father of five, devout Catholic, and loving son, Ted Austin passed away Thursday, December 8, 2011 at his home. Truly a member of the Greatest Generation, he was born in 1930 in Warren, Pennsylvania at the beginning of the Depression as the youngest child and only son of Theodore and Gertrude Austin. During his teen years the nation was locked in World War II. He graduated from Warren Harding High School and joined the United States Marine Corps in which he rose through the ranks to Technical Sergeant. While in the Marines, he served as a member of the guard detachment at the U. S. Embassy in Lisbon Portugal, where he met and courted Lillian Elizabeth Soelle. Lee and he embarked on 58 years of marriage starting with a snowy wedding in Warren Pennsylvania.
Beginning in 1954, his sons James Theodore Marilyn Willhoff and Robert Louis Wendy were followed in short order by Elizabeth Anne Nile Testerman and Constance Catherine Ulysses James; and later Patricia Leigh Eric Nye. Inspired and encouraged by his wife Lee, he entered Miami University of Ohio in 1956 and became the first college graduate in his family earning his degree in the Accounting baccalaureate program in three short years. With his and Lee’s encouragement and support, his children followed in his footsteps and earned multiple advanced degrees three PhDs, a DVM, an MBA and MPH, and a BA.
Ted’s professional career spanned 28 years serving General Electric, PPG, and the US State Department. In his Foreign Service career, he was posted to Tokyo, Japan; Panama City, Panama; Boston MIT Center for Advanced
Engineering, Washington, DC; and Rome, Italy.
Following his retirement, he and Lee lived in McLean, Virginia before moving to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They enjoyed being doting grandparents of Brad, Dylan, Connor, Renee, Peter, and Lily Ann. Again inspired by Lee, they visited many parts of the U.S. and the world but felt most grounded in their home in Chapel Hill. In pursuit of his love of gardening, Ted earned the Master Gardener accreditation for Orange County, North Carolina while volunteering at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens. He and Lee were long-time participants of Cornell Adult University and graciously shared these experiences with their children and grandchildren.
During his later years he bore the trials and tribulations of declining health due to dementia and advancing age, but throughout he maintained a stoic manner and a great love for Lee. A great comfort to him was the staff from the Visiting Angels, with special thanks to Calissa Liz, and Belinda who enabled him to peacefully and comfortably remain in his home with the love of his life, Lee.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered 10:30 Monday, December 12, 2011 from St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 940 Carmichael Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 with Fr. James Labosky, presiding. A Rite of Christian Burial will follow at St. Matthew Catholic Cemetery.
Friends may visit from 3:00 – 5:00 on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, 1113 West Main Street, Durham, NC 27701.
Flowers are acceptable or memorial contributions in Ted’s name may be made to
UNC Hospice at 480 Hillsboro Street, Suite 800, Pittsboro, NC 27312 or http://www.unchealthcare.org/site/hospice/donations.
The Austin family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham.