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(1919 ~ 2013)  

Billie Tedards Austin passed away at her son's home in Tucson, Arizona, on December 28, 2013 surrounded by family. She was born in Checotah, OK, on September 1, 1919, the youngest child of Willie Maud Little and Aaron Bunyan Little, a Baptist Minister from Waco, TX, where she was raised. Billie graduated from Greenville Women's College, now Furman University, with a major in speech and drama in 1940. In 1941 she married William Price Tedards (1914-1991) from Greenville, SC, who embarked on a military career that took them to Europe and Asia. They were married fifty years.
One of the first wives to join their military husbands in Europe at the end of WWII, she lived in Naples and Pisa, Italy, and Frankfurt, Germany, during the Berlin Airlift. As an Air Force wife she then lived in California (Hamilton Field), Okinawa (Kadena Air Base), Ohio (Wright-Patterson AFB), Philippines (Clark AFB), Japan (Tachikawa AFB), Oklahoma (Tinker AFB), Hawaii (Hickam Field), and New Jersey (McGuire AFB). While in the U.S. during 1954 to 1966, Billie was a high school teacher of English, speech, and drama in Fairborn, Ohio. In 1973 Billie and Bill retired to Alexandria, VA, where Billie volunteered with the Campagna Center and was active in Ikebana flower arranging and area garden clubs. Billie loved the outdoors and sunshine and was an extraordinary gardener, championship golfer, and tennis player. She was a major 49ers fan. In 1995 she married Maj. Gen. Gordon H. Austin (1913-2010), a WWII combat pilot, and they spent their fifteen years of married life living in Alexandria, VA as members of the Belle Haven community entertaining friends, gardening, and traveling to High Rock, Ontario (Canada), Mexico, and the Virgin Islands.
Exuberant, compassionate, always thoughtful and loving, Billie will be deeply missed by family and friends. She is survived by children, Bill (Yvonne) of Tucson, AZ and Ann of Eugene, OR; grandchildren, Bo (Chia-ching), Emily, Jeremy, Natalie, Stefanie; and great-grandson Noah. She is also survived by stepdaughters, Sally (Peter) of Waverly, PA and Betsy (Larry) of Waterbury Center, VT and their families.
Billie was a member of the First Baptist Church of Alexandria and will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. To be announced are the dates for visitation at Everly-Wheatly Funeral Home in Alexandria, VA and the funeral service. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Campagna Center, or a , in her memory. A guest register can be found at

Published in The Washington Post on Jan. 12, 2014
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