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1932 Marilyn 2024

Marilyn Ruby Austin

January 10, 1932 — February 18, 2024

Marilyn Ruby Davis Austin went into the loving arms of her Heavenly Father, February 18, 2024, at Sacred Ground Hospice House of Knoxville, Tennessee. She was 92 years old. She had been living with her daughter in Tennessee for 20 months (about 1 and a half years). Prior to her move, she lived with her daughter in Amarillo, TX. She considered the Texas Panhandle home. She and her husband made Amarillo their home for many years, and after his death in 2011, she continued to reside there.

Marilyn was born January 10, 1932, at home during a snowstorm. The doctor had been called but he was delayed because of the weather. She was delivered by her father Joseph Dawson Davis (J.D.). He was employed by the Phillips Petroleum Company-Johnson Camp. Her mother was Ruby Ann Day from Mineola, Texas. They moved with two little boys to the Phillips Camp during the Borger Boomtown days. She and two more siblings were born while he was employed at Phillips. Her father grew up on a farm in Cash, TX, where he was born, and he kept a few farm animals and a large garden in areas that were allotted for such things in the camp. Marilyn reminisced about the fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs and milk, and meats they ate during the lean Depression years. Her mother’s baking ability was widely known, and neighbors and friends in the camp often asked her to bake items for them.

Marilyn was educated in the system provided by Phillips for its employees’ children and graduated from Phillips High School at age 16 in 1948. After graduation, she attended Draughon’s Business College in Amarillo, Texas. She had several jobs while attending college, and eventually worked at Jewel Tea Company where she met her husband T.D. Austin. They were married on September 28, 1951.

The couple had two daughters, Jenny born in Borger, Texas, and Teri born in in Odessa, Texas. Their lives were destined for a journey of many moves due to T.D.’s career in the young industry of broadcast television and later Cable TV. Marilyn became an expert at packing and living minimally to avoid having to pack and move items, yet she still managed to keep a cozy and loving home. She was very practical and could stretch a penny. The family often caravanned during moves, and the girls learned navigation skills with maps before GPS and ways to communicate between stops before cell phones were invented. As they grew up and learned how to drive, more cars were added to the caravan.

At each new location, she encouraged her family to become involved and bloom where planted. Experiences were gathered instead of objects, and memories were made. She planned adventures to nearby national parks, museums, and historical places which instilled a love of history in both girls. Both daughters continued this legacy with their families. Regular visits to the library fostered a love of reading in her children which, in turn, they have fostered in their families. The family often lived away from other family members, so one time the girls adopted a grandmother at a nursing home to love on and be loved.

After her children were older, Marilyn attended Cosmetology School in Albuquerque, N.M. She often wanted to practice on her two reluctant daughters. She achieved her goal of graduating from college with an associate degree in medical Records Technology from South Plains College in Levelland, Texas in 1984. This degree provided employment opportunities at several locations including the VA hospital in Oklahoma City, Indian Health Services at Ft. Defiance, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation; and her last position was at Scott & White Medical Center in Temple, Texas, where she worked when her last grandson was born.

Marilyn was a loyal, loving wife, mother, and grandmother, called Meimaw by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She shared her adventurous nature with them by including them when they were old enough to travel. After retiring, she and her husband loved to travel to many landmarks in the United States frequently taking a grandchild or two. The oldest granddaughter still remembers when she was on a trip to see Niagara Falls with them, and they were denied entry into Canada because Papaw had a gun, being Texan that was standard. It was either the gun or the Canadian side of the Falls. They returned to the USA. The second oldest granddaughter got an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC with her mother and Meimaw which later was an inspiration for a youth leaders' trip to DC in high school. The oldest grandson got an introduction to the Naval Service of their Papaw by going on a trip to a ship’s reunion and seeing a ship like his Papaw’s. She was always thinking of experiences to provide for her grandchildren as well. They often visited the youngest daughter who was doing a good deal of moving around and traveling herself, no doubt influenced by the moves in her youth. Marilyn visited New Orleans a few times when she lived there, once bringing a cat who was a family pet because she thought her daughter needed his company. When her youngest daughter married a military service member, Marilyn often visited wherever they were assigned, including Germany. She accompanied her daughter from Fort Hood, TX, to Fort Stewart, GA, where her husband was reassigned; for much of that trip, Marilyn sat in the back seat with her toddler grandson entertaining him. Sitting in a car seat for so long, he became restless, and Meimaw invented the game of “skeeter” for him where she wore a sock on her hand, moving it about and buzzing until it landed on him and gently pinched him. He giggled and laughed each time, and it became their game every time she saw him even when he was a teenager. She just had to say “skeeter” to cause a broad smile to come across his face. She also read his favorite two or three books over and over to her grandson on that trip. She could always be counted on to send books, postcards, and other love mementos wherever the family was assigned. She made a ritual of visiting so that she could be there for his birthday. When her son-in-law was deployed to Kuwait, Marilyn was concerned about her daughter and wanted to do something to help her pass the separation time. So, she encouraged her to get into genealogy research since Marilyn knew that some of her ancestors lived in Georgia a long time ago. After much research, her daughter discovered that a 6th great grandfather participated in the American Revolutionary War. That led to membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. She provided application paperwork for her mother which led to her membership in the Arredondo Chapter in Amarillo. The two were members of the Georgia Cameo Society.

Marilyn always looked for ways to better the lives of her children by finding ways to enrich their lives. Her mother made clothes for her, making her own patterns. Marilyn would see a dress or blouse and describe it to her, and her mother made it. Her mother also made pretty dresses for her granddaughters. Marilyn inherited this talent and made matching, creative outfits for her daughters and herself. She made her oldest daughter’s wedding dress, prom dress, and first-dance dress. Later she funneled this artistic bent into quilting and macramé. She and her youngest daughter were macramé enthusiasts for as long as that trend lasted. She taught her oldest daughter to sew, and she has continued the legacy of making her daughter’s veil, prom dress, and coordinating clothes for her daughters and son. Marilyn also started a tradition of giving brass ornaments to her children and grandchildren. Her oldest daughter carried on the tradition of ornaments to her children, and now her grandchildren.

When the great-grandchildren started coming along, she would engage them with fun and practical gifts for their birthdays and Christmas, sometimes just a spending spree at the Dollar Store, which they loved.

Marilyn was an avid reader, which gave her a broad base in nutrition and history, two subjects in which she was especially interested. Often, she would have discussions with whoever needed her help with healthy living. Her oldest daughter and she often engaged in discussions of history, empires, and nutrition. In the 20 months she lived in Tennessee when her eyesight and words started to fail her, she enjoyed watching history documentaries and Mother Angelica on EWTN. Her son-in-law who had his father’s record collection, often played albums for her performed by her favorite old artists. She loved the old TV westerns, and The Virginian and Gun-smoke were among her favorites; and she knew every episode of Andy Griffith and Gomer Pyle, USMC, by heart. Her other son-in-law could always get a smile out of her by lovingly teasing her. She adored both her sons-in-law. She still drew on her knowledge of healthy nutrition, giving advice to daughters and caregivers as she saw fit.

She was active in organizations including the Does of the IBPO ELKS and Secretary-Treasurer of Caprock Medical Records Association 1987-1988. She was also a member of the Clinch Bend Chapter, Tennessee Society, and National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

She was baptized into the Catholic faith at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Norris, TN in 2022.

She had much compassion and empathy for people. She often would send greeting cards and reading materials to people to help them through tough times, provide a meal, or an ear to listen, and spend endless hours on the phone encouraging others.

She loved her family and supported them however best she could, being there to console her daughters as they walked through life’s challenges. The quote, “My strength lies solely in my tenacity” applied to Marilyn. In moving around so much, she encountered obstacles and challenges from which a lesser person might crumble. She found a way to move forward, a trait that has lived on in her daughters. She was very strong-willed and had opinions and traits her girls inherited.

She is preceded in heavenly places by her husband, T.D. Austin; her brothers Melvin Davis, Floyd Davis, Bob Davis, J. D Davis, Jr (Sonny), and her parents. She is survived by one sister, Ann Driver of Jacksonville, Texas. She is also survived by her daughters; Jenny Blessen of Amarillo, Texas; Teri Oaks of Knoxville, Tennessee; four grandchildren Aleshia Blessen of Amarillo, Texas; Laura Wolf of Kingwood, Texas; Chris Blessen of Boston, Massachusetts; and Will Oaks of Tallahassee, Florida. She has 5 great-grandchildren, cousins, and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family requests in lieu of flowers that memorials be sent to

Sacred Ground Hospice House, a non-profit hospice facility at 1120 Dry Gap Pike, Knoxville, TN 37918,

or to the organization of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marilyn Ruby Austin, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

LaGrone Blackburn Shaw Coulter Road Chapel


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