SWANTON — Sandra Jean Austin, 74, passed unexpectedly at her home in the early hours of Sunday, December 20, 2020, with her loving husband of 52 years Ballard Austin by her side.
She was born in St. Albans on November 11, 1946, daughter of Chester and Evelyn (Jacobs) Talcott and grew up on the family farm that is still standing on Talcott Rd in Fairfield, Vt. Sandra and her sisters and brother attended a one room school house about a mile from the home farm through the eighth grade and then graduated from Bellows Free Academy in 1964.
On July 15, 1967, Sandra married Ballard Austin and settled into their forever home in July 1974 in Swanton where they raised five children through the crazy ‘70s and ‘80s. She worked at Eveready Battery Company’s St. Albans Plant for 35 years doing multiple jobs, many of which were extremely physically demanding. Sandra loved playing bingo, cooking for her family and friends or anyone who happened to walk in off the road, always selfless and caring. Her compassion for others was tireless and she really was the greatest listener. She never judged or ridiculed or put anyone down. She gave the greatest hugs; the kind of hugs that when you let go, you knew someone just gave a part of themselves to you to keep whenever you needed it. She was one of a kind, and we will love and miss her every day of our lives.
In a world where the value of a person is measured in so many misdirected ways, Sandy was an incredible barometer of a life well-lived and even more well-loved. Life as we know it is not always easy and sometimes very difficult, but Sandra always found a path through, without complaint, to be there for everyone, and to consistently give all she had in all ways in support of the ones she cared for.
Sandra was adventurous, enjoying many family vacations around New England, Las Vegas, and the Caribbean along with trips around the country with her bowling team. She was part of the Red-Hat Society and loved the one armed bandits at the casinos along with singing, dancing, and fishing. She enjoyed the Christmas Holiday season, and all of the joy that they bring with her motto that everyone needed something to unwrap. She also enjoyed picking names of children from the giving tree at the St. Albans Library and buying Christmas presents for them. She loved spending time with children, whether teaching them the names of the constellations in the backyard, camping or the endless sleepovers filled with food, fun, and giggles, it kept her young in spirit. Any child, and you know who are, to have visited her house was always welcomed with big hugs and her bottomless candy dish.
Sandy was “Mom” to more than her five children. Many people affectionately referred to her as Mom because when you were around her, she treated you like you were someone special and that you belonged. She had a great sense of humor, a welcoming smile and beautiful blue eyes that sparkled to let you know she saw you-for-you. They also sparkled when inviting party-goers to the trunk of her car for her special “trunk tequila shots.” She was the right amount of everything, from quiet and comforting to the right amount of wild side all mixed in into an amazing human being.
She was an amazing cook whether it was for two people or 25 people and her home was the epicenter for her family and friends. The door was always open every Saturday night for kitchen poker, sometimes extending into the wee-hours of Sunday morning. This was the kind of poker game where the people sitting next to you helped you with your cards and every rule was made to make you feel included. She had an incredible knack for finding four-leaf clovers; she could find 10 before most people could find one. We have no doubt this gift was just another part of her magical self.
She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Ballard V. Austin and their five children; Kimberly Bourbeau and husband Alan of Swanton, James Austin and wife Carolyn of Alburgh, Kevin Austin and his wife Karen of Fairfield, Jeffrey Austin and his wife Suzanne of S. Burlington, Tricia Gilmond of Georgia; her sisters; Barbara Breton and husband Norman of Fairfield, Hazel Reed of Sheldon, Linda Berry of Fairfield, brother David Talcott and wife Jeannine of Fairfield, and brother-in-law John Hutchins of Sheldon. Also surviving are eight grandchildren; Nicole, Justin, and Eric Bourbeau, Emily, Chelsea, and Tyler Austin; CJ and Brady Gilmond; five great-grandchildren; Evony and Annabella Bourbeau; Natalie, Audrey, and Zachary Bourbeau and many loving nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, Chester and Evelyn (Jacobs) Talcott; two sisters, Bernice Hutchins and Joyce Austin. She was also predeceased by her “Miss Muffett” granddaughter Tannis Austin.
A Remembrance Gathering will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, December 26, 2020, in the Brady & Levesque Funeral Chapel, 86 South Main Street, St. Albans and is open to the public. As an alternative to flowers, memorials may be made in her name to the Sheldon Food Shelf located at 52 Church St, Sheldon, VT 05483, (802) 933-4487.
Arrangements are entrusted to Brady & Levesque Funeral Home, where online condolences and memories of Sandra may be shared with her family and friends at www.bradyandlevesque.com.