Elizabeth Robinson Austin LAKE WYLIE - Elizabeth Robinson Austin, "Beth," of Lake Wylie, S.C., passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, after a long battle with cancer. She was 60 years old. Beth was born Mary Elizabeth Robinson in Gastonia, N.C., on Sept. 3, 1952. She was the daughter of the late William Edmond and Elizabeth Patterson Robinson. Beth was first and foremost a faithful believer in Jesus Christ. She was a wife to one, mother to two and friend to everyone. She embraced life with unbridled passion, always concerned about the welfare of others. Beth was humbled by God's love and shared her faith by the way she lived, a lady of grace, love and compassion for everyone. She made life for everyone she met a little bit better. Beth was a graduate of Gaston College and attended Western Carolina University. She held a number of administrative positions in business but left the business world to take care of her oldest son who has a seizure disorder and developmental delays. She was instrumental in starting parent groups to support parents of children with developmental disabilities. Out of her own family's experience with a special needs child, Beth created an education program for students, teaching understanding and sensitivity toward people with disabilities. The program "Awareness: The Key to Friendships" has been placed in over 260 schools and school systems across South Carolina and has reached well over 100,000 students and teachers. The program lives on in those schools and has become part of many teacher cadet programs in South Carolina high schools. The program has also been adapted by major corporations and has been used as far away as Australia. While Beth was concerned about increasing our comfort level with special needs people, she was passionate about the need for a worship environment that was accepting to the special needs population. To that end, she was instrumental in starting a worship service for people with special needs called "Forever Friends." Forever Friends meets once a month at Grace Community United Methodist Church in Fort Mill, S.C., and has been featured on the United Methodist Church international website. As Beth began to battle cancer in 2009, she sensed an urgency to improve the prayer life of the members of her church. With the help of others, she was instrumental in starting a prayer team at Grace Community Church that eventually included daily prayers for people in need, Sunday chair prayers and worship service prayers and "Revive," a monthly service of prayer. Beth never thought of her cancer as a battle against the disease. She saw her cancer journey as an opportunity to serve God, as a witness for hope, a witness for the certainty of everlasting life through Christ our Lord and a "sweet journey to Heaven"! Through it all, she never lost her praise! As Beth always said, "The Best is Yet To Come!" Beth is survived by her loving husband of 40 years, Albert Henry Austin III; her children, Albert Henry Austin IV and William Patterson Austin and his wife, Candice Burris Austin; grandchild, Brayden William Austin; mother-in-law, Mary Cornelia (Connie) Austin; brother, William Edmond Robinson Jr.; her niece, Yetta; nephew, Eddie; and her "adopted" daughter, Bessie Westmorland. A life celebration service will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4, at Grace Community United Methodist Church, Gold Hill Road, Fort Mill, S.C. The family will receive friends after the service. In her memory, please direct gifts to Holy Angels, Inc., P.O. Box 710, Belmont, NC 28012. Online condolences may be made at www.mlfordsons.com
. M. L Ford & Sons Funeral Home in Lake Wylie, S.C., is serving the family of Mrs. Austin.