Barbara Eloise (Pyle) Austin, 88, died at 2:30 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009, at the Good Samaritan Society of Parsons.
Her home was 410 Parkway Drive in Parsons until June 2006 when she became a resident of the Parsons Good Samaritan Society.
She was born Oct. 25, 1921, on the Pyle family farm northwest of Emporia, Kan., to Lester and Mattie (Loomis) Pyle.
She attended schools in Emporia, including K.S.T.C., now Emporia State University, where she majored in art and was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority.
Barbara Pyle married Kirk Austin in Emporia on March 16, 1941, at Grace Methodist Church.
After Mr. Austin's service in World War II, the Austins moved to Blackwell, Okla., then to Parsons, where Mr. Austin was the store manager for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.
In 1948, Mr. and Mrs. Austin purchased the George P. Loeb store and began doing business as Kirk Austin's Dry Goods and eventually as Kirk Austin's Fabrics.
Their first location was 1720 Main, then 1829 Main, and they built the final location at 1401 Main in 1969. After 43 years, they closed the store and retired in 1991.
During their retirement years, Kirk and Barbara traveled extensively, visiting 47 of the 48 continental states, as well as some parts of Canada and Mexico.
Barbara sewed all her life, and she was the creative talent behind the success of their family business.
Sewing customers came from great distances to seek Barbara's expertise and guidance in planning wedding attire, local to national sewing competitions, 4H and school projects, theatrical costuming and sets, and creative endeavors for vast numbers of people throughout the years.
The Austins took great pride in the success of their store and in the joy they shared with their customers.
Barbara and Kirk Austin were married nearly 66 years at Kirk's death in January 2007.
Barbara was a member and worker in the First United Methodist Church and then the Wesley United Methodist Church. She served on various committees for the church, was active in church circles, her Sunday school class, the prayer chain, and helped with funeral dinners.
She was a member of the Quilters Guild of Parsons and the Kansas Quilters Organization.
Barbara is survived by three children: T.J. Austin and wife Sharon of Oklahoma City; Virginia Constance of Lawrence; and Nancy Swanwick and husband Daryl of Fort Scott. Grandchildren are: Jeremy Austin and wife Monica of Martinez, Georgia; Shelley Spurlock and husband Danny, Christie Austin, and Tadd Austin, all of Oklahoma City; Sam Constance of Kansas City, Mo.; Colin Constance of Lawrence; Matthew Swanwick and wife Carissa of Lenexa; and Daniel Swanwick and wife Catherine of Vienna, Va. Great-grandchildren are: Zach and Tony Austin; Molly and Tommy Spurlock; Tatum and Elliott Swanwick; and Benjamin Swanwick.
In addition to her husband, parents and siblings, she was preceded in death by a daughter, Carolyn Austin and Carolyn's daughter, Laura Brigman.
Following cremation, a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, at Wesley United Methodist Church in Parsons.
Burial will be in the family plot at Memorial Lawn/Maplewood Cemetery in Emporia, Kan.
The family will receive friends at 10 a.m. Saturday, prior to the service, in Fellowship Hall at the church.
Memorials are suggested to the Wesley United Methodist Church or the Good Samaritan Society of Parsons. These may be left at or mailed to Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, Kan. 67357.
Online condolences may be left at www.forbeshoffman.com.