Shirley Ann Austin, 74, of Palmyra, Virginia, formerly of Chantilly, Virginia, was ushered peacefully into the presence of her Savior on Tuesday morning, February 16, 2021, after a long and courageous battle with Lewy Body Dementia.
Shirley was born to the late James and Nina Carpenter on October 17, 1946. She grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, where she helped her father with his frozen custard and nut store businesses. She attended Fairfax High School with her future husband before graduating from the Maryland Medical Secretarial School. She later used her medical training as a medical transcriptionist as well as working at various doctor’s offices.
Shirley’s main work was in lovingly caring for her family. She became a believer in 1973 and quickly found out that Jesus had given her what she had been looking for all along, “life and having it more abundantly” (John 10:10). She played an important role assisting her husband of 54 ½ years, Steve Austin, in the planting of Chantilly Bible Church (CBC), where she developed a special bond with many. While at CBC, she oversaw the church nursery for many years. Shirley had a tremendous love and burden for children and young moms and invested in both. Her impact will be felt for generations to come. As a woman of faith and quiet humility, Shirley was beloved by her church community, friends and neighbors. Shirley understood and lived the truth that “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 1:16)
After some 35 years of ministry, Shirley and Steve moved to family land in Central Virginia. She enjoyed researching family history, as well as trips to the ocean and mountains with family and friends. Shirley’s husband Steve called her his “Sunshine,” and she truly was like a ray of sunshine brightening the lives of so many others. She is dearly missed.
Survivors include her loving husband, her two children, John and Jason, her daughter-in-law Erin Austin, and her grandchildren Anna, Alexander and Kenneth Allen; her brother, James Carpenter, her sister-in-law and friend, Helen Carpenter, her nephews Michael Carpenter and Timothy Carpenter; her sister-in-law Sue Austin, her nieces Maili Ramirez and Kristi Brockett, and her mother-in-law, Marilyn Austin.