Laura Ione Martin Austin, age 83, retired business woman, died Tuesday, Jan. 31, after suffering a stroke.
Family, friends and volunteering were her passion. Laura often spoke of her long life as a gift granted to her so she could support and be here for her family, especially the great-grandchildren. She was no stranger to giving back in all areas of her life. In addition to having been a perennial room mother, scout leader, dance coach, cheerleader, babysitter and event organizer for her family, Laura was a three time winner of the McWherter Senior Center “Volunteer of the Year,” recipient of the Exchange Club of Memphis “Golden Deed of the Year” award, a five year Service Core of Retired Executives volunteer counselor, and while president of MidSouth Exporters Roundtable was instrumental in obtaining an organizational “President’s E-Award” from President George Bush. Laura served as vice-president for BiWOOD International, Inc., on the Board of Directors for the World Trade Club, and was the principal of Austin Associates, a consulting firm.
Perhaps her favorite volunteer work was with seniors and dance. Having been a dancer most of her life and invited to teach line dancing in and out of state, Laura was able to share her love of dance and help so many older, lonely people become active, involved, make friends, get exercise and begin looking forward to life by founding The Tennessee Twisters, a line dance organization for seniors. She taught free of charge at McWherter Senior Center, Pickering Center, Asbury United Methodist and other venues. Laura never accepted payment, and donated any proceeds to the church or center.
As a group, the Tennessee Twisters performed at nursing homes, schools and festivals, even once making an appearance on a nationally syndicated show. Even though the average age in the troop was 68 years old, they danced like pros due to Laura’s instruction. While director of the Tennessee Twisters, Laura organized the first county wide, line dance festivals, which united all area line dance instructors and invited participation from surrounding state clubs and their instructors. This very successful tradition has continued since Laura’s retirement as director.
Laura loved dancing so much that she often joked that she immediately married the best dancer she’d ever met. Laura won many dance competitions in her life as an amateur and pro. She also rolled her way to the Memphis Bowling Association Women’s Handicap Champion and competitive placements in Senior Volleyball and ski jumping in her youth.
While always active, Laura was an avid reader and watercolorist. Her paintings have been hung in galleries and won first place at the MidSouth Fair. A multi-talented woman, Laura remained fascinated by life and its opportunities. She shared a love of her church with her husband and was a frequent volunteer in a Christian ministry for adults with special needs.
She is survived by James Austin, her husband of 34 years; two daughters, Lori Clark and Debra Dixon; a brother Michael Martin and his wife Marion; her son-in-law, Wayne Dixon; her grandchildren, Bill Dixon, Rob Smith, Rachel Clark, Shelby and Joel McGartlin; as well as the great-grandchildren she adored, Camden Clark, John David Clark, Ella McGartlin and Aiden Dobbins. She is also survived by two stepsons, Joseph and Jim Austin Jr., their wives Stacy and Karey; ten step-grandchildren and two stepgreat-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Forest Hill Funeral Home East, in Memphis, on Saturday, March 11, at 2 p.m. Visitation begins at 1 p.m.
The family requests that expressions of sympathy take the form of contributions to Friends of Faith at 4210 Alturia Rd. Suite 118, Bartlett, Tenn. 38135.
Jerry Neil Tillman, 71, of Savannah, died on Monday, Jan. 30, in Savannah.
He was born in McNairy County, the son of the late Lonzo and Conie Pounds Tillman.
Mr. Tillman worked as a truck driver for Sherman Pipe.
He is survived by his children, Peggy Tillman McIntyre of Stantonville, Tennessee, Brian Tillman of Fountain, Colorado and Michael Tillman of Savannah; and one brother, William Tillman of Florence, Alabama.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers and sisters.
A graveside service was held on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at Mt. Vinson Cemetery in Stantonville.
Bert Arnold Maxedon Sr., 89, of Selmer, died Monday, Jan. 30.
He was the son of the late Burtron A. and Lillian Reeder Maxedon. He was united in marriage to Patricia L. Basinger, who survives.
Mr. Maxedon was a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church in Selmer.
In addition to his wife, Patricia L. Maxedon, he is survived by two sons, Danny Maxedon and Bert A. “Mac” Maxedon Jr.; a brother, Don Maxedon; five grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
He was also preceded in death by his daughter, Bonnie Wiggins; one granddaughter; sister, Varina Newcomb; and two brothers, Reeder and P.J. Maxedon.
Services were held on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Selmer with Joy Weathersbee officiating. Burial followed at Oak Hill Cemetery in Selmer.
Barbara Ann Lackey Kolwyck, 84, of Franklin/Waverly, Tennessee, formerly of Hardin County, died on Saturday, Jan. 28, in Franklin, Tennessee.
Mrs. Kolwyck was a homemaker and a member of the Waverly United Methodist Church. She was also the teacher of the Hart Sunday School Class for many years.
She is survived by her son, Phillip Kolwyck of Franklin; daughter, Beth Kolwyck of Nashville; brothers, Pay Lackey of Savannah, Edwin Lackey of Arlington and Fred Lackey of Moscow; three grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Roy Kolwyck; her parents, Edward and Fannie Lackey; and sister, Dean Lackey Irvin Reed.
Funeral services were held on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Humphreys County Funeral Home. Interment followed in the Christ Church Memorial Gardens in Nashville.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Waverly United Methodist Church Building Fund.
Arrangements by Humphreys County Funeral Home.
Glenn Thomas Jones, 75, of Savannah, died Tuesday, Jan. 17.
He was born in Mobile, Alabama, the son of the late Joseph and Dorothy Ruth Thomley Jones.
Mr. Jones traveled the world doing contract work as an electrical engineer specializing in aerospace engineering and working with defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and McDonnell Douglas, just to name a few.
He served his country in the Air Force during the Vietnam era, flying military planes and achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He is survived by his daughter, Diana Jones of Memphis; his stepsons, Jay Vincent of Germantown, Tennessee and Steve Vincent of Collierville, Tennessee, and one granddaughter.
Other than his parents, Glenn was preceded in death by his brother, Barry Alden Jones.
No services are scheduled at this time.