It Takes a Family to Comfort a Family
Barbara Aileen Hayes Austin
On February 25, 2022, Barbara Aileen Hayes Austin, 88, peacefully passed at her home in Newport News.
Barbara was born in Thomaston, Georgia on December 4, 1933. She was the daughter of Marvin and Shellie Hayes. She and her brother, Harold, were affectionately nicknamed “Bobby” and “Pete” by their father. The two enjoyed an idyllic childhood, growing up in the historic mill village of Silvertown. Their childhood was filled with roller skating, swimming, playing outside, and spending Sundays in the country with their grandmother.
While attending a baseball game, Barbara caught the eye of a handsome ball player with dark hair and the bluest eyes. The two began a courtship, only to be separated when her family moved to Gainesville, Georgia.
The miles between them proved to be no challenge for the two lovebirds. Many love letters were exchanged. When Bill decided to enlist in the U.S. Army, Barbara finished high school and waited for her love to return from basic training. Upon his return, the two married in April of 1952 and two weeks later, Bill left for Korea. The newlyweds were separated for two years.
During this time, Barbara and her family relocated to Newport News, when her father accepted a job at Newport News Shipbuilding. When Bill returned from Korea, the two settled in an adorable little home, which Barbara purchased with the money she saved while Bill was away.
Their family quickly grew with the arrival of their first son, Terry. David and Mark soon followed, and their family was complete several years later, with the arrival of their “little surprise” Lisa.
While Bill made his career as a firefighter, Barbara was busy holding down the fort and raising three active boys. Being a mother was her greatest joy. When the boys were 16, 14 and 10, a baby girl arrived and they were all smitten. Barbara was kind, gentle, firm when necessary, and fun. She kept a beautiful home and was a magnificent cook. She was a room mother for her children’s classes, a PTA officer, a little league mom, a VBS leader, and she held many other roles in her children’s busy lives. Her greatest role was that of a loving wife, mother, and grandmother.
Barbara was a true southern woman. She carried herself with poise and grace. She was fashionable, always “put together” and never without her lipstick. She was the queen of shopping, especially with her daughter and granddaughter, and was always up for an adventure! She was well-read and never missed reading the newspaper. Politics were her passion and she would always welcome a hearty debate. (She would usually win, too!)
Just a few short hours before Barbara passed, she said her bedtime prayer. This was something she never missed. She would pray for her children and grandchildren, friends, loved ones who had passed, but also strangers she saw on television or read about in the newspaper. She truly had a heart for the Lord. She was faithful, optimistic and always a ray of sunshine for her family. Her last few years were challenging, but she maintained her beautiful and graceful demeanor, and was quick to tell everyone “I am so blessed.”
Barbara was preceded in death by her husband, Bill Austin, son, Mark Austin, parents, Marvin and Shellie Hayes, and brother Harold Hayes. She is survived by her son and caregiver, Terry Austin (Pam), son David Austin (Betty Jo), daughter Lisa Kaloustian (Jeff Rice), grandchildren Derek Austin (Sasha), Jarrod Austin (Lorrie), Justin Austin, Ashley Austin (Chris), Ian Austin, and Sydney Paige Kaloustian, who provided her Nanny and Papa with so much joy and happiness! She is also survived by nine great-grandchildren and was eagerly awaiting the birth of her tenth great-grandchild, a baby girl.
Her children and grandchildren know there will never be another like her. She loved each of them so well. They were truly blessed with the most wonderful parents and grandparents. Their grief is immense, but her children are overjoyed to know their mom and dad are together again. What a wonderful reunion that must have been!
Arrangements were handled by Peninsula Funeral Home. A private service will be held at a later date.