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Monday, November 20, 2023
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Coleen Cox Austin, 84, of Ruffin, passed away on Friday, November 17, 2023.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM Tuesday, November 21, 2023 at Hickory Grove United Methodist Church with Rev. Lee Eggers officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at Wilkerson Funeral Home on Monday, November 20th from 4:00- 7:00 PM and other times at the residence on Mayfield Road.
Coleen was the youngest of eight children, born on December 11, 1938, to the late Robert and Dora Cox. She graduated from Ruffin High School in 1956, and married her high school sweetheart, Billy Austin, in 1958, and they were married 59 years until his death. She attended Averett College in Danville, VA for a year and then focused on being a mother and homemaker. She worked many years on the farm and spent a lot of time at ballgames. She also worked part-time as a bookkeeper. She returned to college and received her bachelor’s degree in education at the age of 40, and received her master’s in education 10 years later, both from UNC-Greensboro. She was a retired elementary school teacher with the Rockingham County School System. Coleen was a lifelong proponent of higher education. She was a longtime member at Hickory Grove UMC, where she sang in the choir for many years. Prior to her marriage, Coleen cherished her time singing with the Russ Carlton Orchestra. She was best known for calling everyone on their birthday each year and singing the birthday song. She had a quick wit and great sense of humor that she inherited from her father.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Billy Austin; five siblings, Fred E. Cox, Sr., Lois C. Gentry, Vivian C. Riddle, Hilda C. Hundley and George D. Cox, Sr.; great grandson, Joshua Mahan.
She is survived by her children, Chuck Austin and wife, Leslie of Ruffin; Laura Austin McClure and husband, Doug of Cumming, GA; William Austin and wife, Pam of Burlington, Melanie Austin Jones and husband, Wesley of Reidsville; grandchildren, Jacob Neal (Brooke) , Sarah Beth Austin Malone (Tyler), and Kacie Neal Loye (Spencer); step grandchildren, Preston Mahan (Ashley), Sherie Mahan, Christal Chapman (Rodney), Chip McClure, and Tyler Jones; great grandchildren, Axel and Kyler Malone; step great grandchildren, Jordan Mahan, Jacob and Ashlyn Chapman, and Madelyn Mahan; sisters, Virginia “Kitty” Dyer, and Betty Collie (Jason); former son-in-law, Steve Neal.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the many caregivers who assisted Coleen over the last few years.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hickory Grove United Methodist Church, c/o Connie Jones, 391 Williamson Creek Road, Ruffin, NC 27326.