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Constance Austin

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Constance Eleanor Shaw Austin (Connie) died on March 4, 2015, loved and cared for in her home. Born on March 14, 1928, in Washington, D.C., she was the daughter of Eleanor Metz Kennedy and Lt. Col. Howard Knott Shaw, Esq. Her mother was noted for being one of Washington, D.C.s first female lawyers. Connie graduated from Duke University, where she met James Howard Austin (Jim), of Pittsburgh, PA. Connie modeled at Garfinckles Department Store in Washington, D.C. while Jim finished medical school. They married in 1950. During the early years of her marriage they moved frequently, living in Durham, NC, Enterprise, AL, and Aberdeen, MD, while Jim served as an Army Ob/Gyn. The family also lived in the Boston area while Jim completed a medical fellowship. They fell in love with New England and never left. They settled first in Weston, MA, and then in Brookline, MA. In Weston, Connie was active in town planning, and began developing her interests in preservation of historic homes and antiques. When they moved to Brookline, she renovated their own historic home on High St., enlisting the help of her five children. She continued buying and selling local and historic homes. In Brookline, Connie was active in civic affairs. She served over twenty years as a Town Meeting member, in two pre-cincts. She earned a Brookline Preservation Commission Award in 2003, for saving the gardeners cottage in the Lars Anderson Estate. She volunteered at the Thrift Shop of Boston in Jamaica Plain, and was instrumental in developing and running the annual First Parish of Brookline Fair. She was a member of The Emery Bag and The Brookline Garden Club. Her sense of adventure not only included rescuing stray cats and dogs, but also raising sheep and geese in her back yard. Many a local officer came by her door with a confounded look to report that there was a sheep in a neighbors back yard, and would she please take it home. She leaves two sisters, Mary Virginia and Suzanne, of British Columbia; her five children, James, Jr. of Chicago, IL, Constance Eleanor of Greenfield, NH, Harry of Taos, NM, Bayard of Monroe, MA, and Bryan of Dover, MA, and eight grandchildren, Tanner, Sam, Miles, Ames, Eleanor, Oakes, Lydia, and Marlee. A memorial service will be held on April 11, at 2 PM, at The First Church in Chestnut Hill.

Published in The Brookline Tab from Apr. 7 to Apr. 14, 2015
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