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Cyleta Lee Austin

Cyleta Lee Austin Notice
AUSTIN, CYLETA LEE, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" 2 Timothy 4:7. Cyleta Lee Austin, age 94, devoted daughter, loving wife, cherished mother and grandmother, faithful friend to many, passed away Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012,after building a life rich in love, faith, family, and friends, Cyleta was dubbed as a true "Southern Bell" by many. She was affectionately called "Chubby" by her adoring late husband, Joe. Cyleta was not only a "native Floridian"; but a lifelong resident of South Lake County and a scion of two pioneer families to the South Lake County area, She was born on March 11, 1917 to Joseph and Bessie Carter Lee on the family farm in a remodeled log cabin built in the 1870's where she resided until her death. Her ancestral roots were traceable to two pioneer Central Florida families; one to the 1860's. Cyleta was a pioneer descendant of the James and
Lavina Lee family, some of the original settlers of Lake County who homesteaded property on what is now the Monte Vista Road in Clermont in 1874. Her maternal great-grandparents, Allen P, and Adeline Carter were the first settlers on Carter's Island which is close to Mascotte, in 1869; when it and the surrounding area were still considered part of Sumter County. Cyleta grew up on the 400 acre farm on Monte Vista Road where her father, Joseph Lee, raised citrus, vegetables, and hogs. As a child she attended the two story brick school in Groveland and graduated from Groveland High School during the height of the "Great Depression" in 1935. Cyleta married her beloved husband, Joe B. Austin on July 29, 1939 in the First Baptist Church of Groveland, Cyleta and Joe were married for 59 years upon his death in 1998; having been separated only once before as Joe proudly served his country during World War II aboard the U.S.S. Pastores while enlisted in the Navy. Cyleta was a homemaker but also a woman before her time. She was the unofficial "business manager" of the small citrus operation located on the family farm; running the day to day business of citrus production. Cyleta was an avid community volunteer with more than 20 years of service to the Groveland P.T.A. and about 50 years as a member of the Groveland-Mascotte Woman's Club. Cyleta served 5 years as president of the Groveland Woman's Club. She was an active volunteer of the Groveland Library for many years, which the Groveland Woman's Club founded. Cyleta was a longtime member of the First Baptist Church of Groveland.
Cyleta served a number of years as a director of the Lake County Historical Society. She provided information for the publishing, of two books in Lake County; Through Schoolhouse Doors and Clermont: Gem of the Hills 1884 - 1984; using her vast knowledge of South Lake County history. In 1986, having been designated as a "Century Farm Family" Cyleta was presented with a plaque from the Florida Department of Agriculture honoring the Lee family in recognition of owning their farmlands continuously for 100 years or more. In 2001 Cyleta was chosen as the "Gem-of-the-Hills" recipient for the month of February by the South Lake Chamber of Commerce. She was once honored as the "Grand Marshall" of the Christmas parade for the city of Groveland. One of the most important aspects of Cyleta's life was her passion Of the local history of South Lake County. Cyleta spent much of her lifetime documenting the history of the area. She started on the hunt for local history as a child when she would ask people about the "old days". These old-timers provided an oral history of South Lake County that Cyleta remembered her entire life. This true devotion to local history empowered Cyleta to hold the title of "Official Historian Emeritus" of the city of Groveland for many years.
Cyleta is survived by her daughter Valerie Jo Bronson, "son" Dennis Wayne Bronson, and grandson
Dylan Austin Bronson all of Clermont; as well as daughter Diane and husband W.R. Thomas, grandsons Barry and her most beloved, Craig. She is predeceased by her husband of 59 years, Joe B. Austin; parents Joseph and Bessie Carter Lee, brother Robert Lee and sister Frances Lee Dance. The funeral service for Cyleta Lee Austin will be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at First Baptist Church of Groveland. Reverend Darrell Sheeley will officiate. Burial will follow in Empire Cemetery. Visitation will he from 4:30 - 6:30 PM on Saturday at the funeral home. BECKER FAMILY FUNERAL HOME, 806 W. Minneola Ave., Clermont, FL 34711. Telephone 352-394-7121. Guestbook at
beckerfamilyfuneral.com.

Published in the Orlando Sentinel on Jan. 6, 2012
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