Obituaries for August 15, 2011

By Baker Cty Herald August 16, 2011 11:40 pm

Lori Austin

Lori Jean Austin, 50, died Aug. 7, 2011, surrounded by her loving family and friends.
There will be a celebration of her life at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the First Church of the Nazarene, 1250 Hughes Lane. Dennis Austin of the Bethel Christian Center in Federal Way, Wash., will officiate.

Lori was born Dec. 1, 1960, at Mapleton, Iowa. She was the 11th of 12 children of John Virtue and Bernice Bollig Virtue. In 1968, her family moved to Sacramento, Calif. Her love for animals and gardening came from a childhood spent on and around her parents’ and siblings’ farms.
During her sophomore year at San Juan High School, she met the love of her life, Ken Austin. Lori graduated in 1979 and two years later, Ken and Lori were married on Aug. 8, 1981, at Roseville, Calif.
In 1984, the couple welcomed their first child, Courtney Marene Austin. In December of 1992, Ken and Lori were blessed with a son, Lucas Wendell Austin.
Lori loved and lived being a mother, her family said. She always put her kids before herself, and family was more important than status.
Lori had many hats. She was a jack-of-all-trades, and was affectionately called “Martha Stewart” by her daughter. She spent most of her life doing what she loved most, being a homemaker.
After her kids started school, she worked part time taking care of the elderly. She was a true servant to the people.
When her own parents needed some extra care and attention, there was never a question in her mind about becoming their caregiver. Once Ken started his own company, Lori added another hat to her collection by becoming his bookkeeper.
Ken and Lori served as youth pastors for eight years at Impact Church. Lori said the kids in their youth groups kept her young. She touched many hearts and lives during those years.
In 2002, Ken, Lori, Courtney and Luke moved to Baker City. Lori began working for Eagle Cap Nursery doing bookkeeping for the flower season. She also worked for Baker Veterinary Hospital as bookkeeper and office manager.
She always had compassion for the animals coming in to be treated and loved her coworkers and bosses.
Lori’s garden and flower beds were a point of pride in her life and provided a strong connection to her heritage. She loved to scrapbook, read, fish, camp and cook, and no one left her home with an empty stomach!
Gaining a son when Courtney married Luke Benson, Lori was overjoyed to have added another member to her family. In the summer of 2007, Lori became “Gee Gee” when her grandson, Remington was born. Her world revolved around being Remington’s Gee Gee, family members said. She loved having him spend the night and play.
Lori also loved watching and cheering for the Baker Bulldog High School football team, especially during their journey to the state championship in December 2010. Although her son graduated from Baker High School in 2011, she had already adopted new players to cheer on during the upcoming season.
Lori was always willing to step up and take charge when nobody else would. She was involved in organizing fundraisers, car shows, and in the last year, putting on the Baker High School drug- and alcohol-free graduation party.
Lori’s love and passion for her family and all of her friends will be deeply missed, but her legacy will live on in all of the hearts she touched, especially in Ken, Courtney, Luke, Luke and Remington.
Survivors include her husband, Ken Austin Jr.; daughter, Courtney Benson and son-in-law, Luke Benson; grandson, Remington Benson; son, Luke Austin; six brothers and three sisters; many nieces and nephews; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law; and her father-in-law and mother-in-law.
She was preceded in death by her father, John Virtue; her mother, Bernice Virtue; sister, Sheryl Virtue; and brother James “Jim” Virtue.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Lori Austin Memorial Fund through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814 or at any Community Bank.