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October 07, 2008 3:01 am

Lelia Mae Aubrey Austin

Written by Tribune Staff

(Sept. 23, 1920 - Oct. 4, 2008)

Lelia Mae (Aubrey) Austin, 88, died Saturday, Oct. 4 in the Powell Valley Care Center due to complications from diabetes.

She was born Sept. 23, 1920, in St. Jo, Montague County, Texas, to Marion Washington Aubrey, Jr. and Myrtle Lelia (Mangrum) Aubrey. She was an accomplished tennis and volleyball player during her high school years, and her athletic achievements were a source of joy.
She became accustomed at an early age to hard work while dry farming in Texas, hoeing mile-long rows of corn.

In the 1940s, Lelia moved to Loma Linda, Calif., and then moved her mother and father from Texas to join her so she could help care for them.

She married Henry Earl Austin of Fort Scott, Kans., on Dec. 25, 1947, in Quartzsite, Ariz., and became a mother to Henry's three children, Linna, Iris and Larry. Henry and Lelia had two sons of their own, Robert and Larry.

Henry died in 1960, and Lelia found herself the sole bread winner. She worked in garden centers, grocery stores, bookkeeping and real esate. She was last employed in restaurant management, both in Long Beach and Oroville, Calif., where she made her home with Floyd Bousman (deceased 1977), her special companion of 18 years. In March of 2000, she moved to Powell to live with family.

Lelia's hobbies in her early married life were sewing, gardening, raising rabbits, chickens, turkeys, beef and pigs, and canning fruit and vegetables. Later in life, she had time for reading, fishing and watching football, baseball and John Wayne movies.
She was one of nine children, including brothers Wanda Lee (Esther Strong) and Truman (Annie Eva) Aubrey; and sisters, Capitola (Cecil) Ritchey, Audrey (William) Porter, Opal Olita (Lloyd) Starr, Eddie Fae (Max) Yates, Geraldine (Marshall) White and Gwendolyn (David) Gardner.

Survivors include her children, Linna (Bill) Beebe of Powell, Iris (Stan) Crabaugh of Hesperia, Calif., Larry (Elizabeth) Austin of Victorville, Calif., Robert (Bob) Austin of Hesperia, Calif., and Gary Austin of Colville, Wash.; 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

As per her wishes, cremation has taken place, and a family service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association or a charity of choice. Thompson Funeral Home is assisting the family.