The Salemtowne Saal
190 Moravian Way Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27106
Sunday, Feb 18, 2018
Jul 13, 1927 - Feb 08, 2018
Dorothy (Dottie) Louise Jacobson Austin was born on July 13, 1927 in Arlington, VA. She was the only child of Katherine V. Jacobson and Ole Jacobson and she always said she “was their eyeballs.” Along with their love, Ole and Katherine gave Dottie a lifelong passion for reading, learning, gardening and animals. She graduated from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel University) (where her friends knew her as Sonny) with a degree in English Literature and Library Science.
She worked during World War ll for the U.S. Army Map Service and after college worked at the U.S. Library of Congress. After marrying Rodney Austin and moving to Winston-Salem, she dedicated her life to her family and acquiring her own collection of books on subjects ranging from field guides to all forms of flora and fauna, to history, anthropology, literature, drama, religion, and philosophy.
Dottie was a tireless volunteer and community activist. She helped start and worked for years as a volunteer at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Bookstore and Gift Shop. Dottie was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church since moving to Winston Salem in 1951. Her passion for plants and flowers will be what many remember most about her. She collected wildflower and fern specimens from all over the Southeast. In addition to being a Master Flower Show Judge, Dottie had a long record of dedication and service to The Garden Club of North Carolina, the Garden Club Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and the Old Salem Garden Club and the Dixie Classic Fair.
Dottie was married to Rodney Austin for 67 years. They had four children, Nancy Macfarlane (Hunter) of Advance, NC (Hunter, Austin, and Susanna (Danny); Richard Austin of Charlottesville, VA (Katherine, Charlotte, and Nathaniel); Susan Stancill (Rema) of Abingdon, VA (Mark and Samantha); and Beth Goldsmith (Gregg) of Mechanicsville, VA (Gail and Brad). She has one great granddaughter, Kinley Macfarlane.
Dottie was a collector of things. She had a bit of gravitational force to her. Surrounded by her garden in her yard, she was surrounded by her ever-growing library inside the house. Her garden had rhyme and reason. She was a stickler for order amidst her plants. The books just piled up--her kitchen table became a command post with spaces cleared amidst piles of papers and books. She loved plants and animals, but when it came down to it, she’d kill a chipmunk any day before letting it eat her garden plants. She couldn’t tolerate a weed, but she seldom met a book she didn't like. For every activity she undertook, and there were many, she was well read. For all she didn't undertake, she was well read on that too. If you were a close friend or relation, chances are she knew more about your family tree than you did. Though she worked as a librarian and had a great deal of respect for the institutions, library books had a funny way of becoming “hers.” So did dogs…and many of her children’s friends. Small things were particularly susceptible to her gravitational influence and small connections held meaning in her sphere--stamps, seashells, newspaper clippings, her own little phrases. She had a way with language; meaning she took her own liberties with it. She said of her school days that she was “an English major by the grace of McKoskie,” a beloved Professor; and who knew there was a number called “umpteen”? If we have forgotten her many spontaneous quips and witty sayings, the look in her eyes and the literate arch of her brows was full of her meaning and with her to the last. When she sold the family home on Plymouth Avenue and moved to Salemtowne, the buyers bulldozed the house to the ground and built a larger one on the spot. But they kept all of her plants--this pleased her both as a gardener and an avid recycler. We will keep her wit and her wisdom and the warmth of her spirit. Her color was purple. She was Dottie by the grace of herself.
Dottie moved to Salemtowne in 2008 and came to love her many friends there as family.
The family wish to thank Kate B. Reynolds Hospice House for their compassionate and loving care during her transition. Their support and care for our Mother and our family was unwavering. The family would also like to thank Deborah Little for all the love and devotion she showed our mother over the past several years. Her loving hands were a blessing and a gift to us all.
A celebration of Dottie’s life will take place Sunday February 18th at 2:00 in The Salemtowne Saal in Winston-Salem. In lieu of flowers the family would ask that a memorial contribution be made to Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. Scholarship Fund P.O. Box 33520, Raleigh, NC 27636-3520 or to READWS.org at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online condolences may be sent to www.salemfh.com.
I was in the Old Salem Garden Club "umpteen" years ago. Loved your mom. As I write this, I can remember being in her house on Plymouth, obviously, having something to do with flowers. I remember that she and Helene Halverson, who lived across the street, were friends, although, I think Helene pisse your mom off every once in awhile. Anyways, I am sorry for your loss and just wanted you to know.
Dear Nancy, Richard, Beth, Susan, and grandchildren,
I am so very sorry for your loss. Your mom (grandmom) was a wonderful person. She was so kind, loving, and full of life. I loved going to your house, Nancy, because your mom always made me feel so welcome. I was always amazed at how delicious the vegetables were that she cooked fresh out of her garden! She was a very special person. She will be greatly missed.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Where do I even start? I’m not a fan of emails in these situations, but sadly, we’ve lost touch — but only in the form of contact information, because you will always be part of me —all of you. Oftentimes, my only contact with Mrs. Austin was through the milk box by the back door on Plymouth, but I always enjoyed visits by the kitchen table that you described so perfectly. She once had me type up Garden Club catalogs — a challenge for both of us, but she was patient, and I learned to adapt to “Dottie time.”