Karen Smith Austin died on Thursday, January 9, in McKinney. She was 73. She is survived by her husband, Roy, her children, Toni and Greg and their families, along with countless relatives, colleagues and friends.
A memorial service for Karen will be on Saturday, February 15 at 11 a.m. at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the McKinney Young Artist Competition, 701 Sorrell Road, McKinney, Texas and for autism research through the Autism Research Institute at www.autism.com.
Karen’s life was a rare and wonderful blend of love, beauty, excellence and strength. Her devotion to her family was foremost and unwavering, but she also created a sense of family among all those whom she knew and loved. As a piano teacher, her love for her students was as deep and expressive as her lifelong love for the music she taught. Karen delighted in all that was truly beautiful, both in things and in people. She created a world of beauty all around her, including her home, her joyous celebrations, her inspiring music and, most of all, through her gracious smile and generous spirit. Karen sought excellence in all she did, whether in her long career as a teacher, as a leader in numerous professional and community organizations, or as she ministered to so many by sharing her musical gifts through her passion for genuine worship. Karen was a woman of extra-ordinary strength, both in character and conviction. She used adversity as an opportunity for constant learning and growth, personal success as a means to affirm others rather than self, and responsibility as a power to be used for good. Karen Austin’s accomplishments are too many to describe, her limitations too few to mention and her essence too deep to fathom. For most of us, when we are gone, our presence is merely absent. There are those few among us who, when they leave us, create an absence that is ever present. Karen Austin was one of those people. She loved us, she inspired us, and we will miss her greatly.