Gay Cowell Austin, 79, passed away Thursday July 11th.
A fourth generation Californian, Gay Cowell was born in Stockton on February 2, 1934. She attended Stockton High School and went on to receive a bachelors in political science from the University of California. It was at UC Berkeley where she met her future husband, Lloyd Francis Austin. A serendipitous meeting in the Smyth Fernwald dorm cafeteria was the start of what would be a six year courtship and 52 years of marriage.
Upon her 1955 college graduation Gay went to work for the campus registrar’s office, retiring in 1962 before the birth of her first daughter. After her youngest daughter headed off to kindergarden Gay embarked on a career in real estate, initially joining The Ellis Company then moving to Berkeley Hills Realty.
Gay was an active member of East Bay Heritage Quilters (EBHQ) and participated in many quilt-making programs, including a 1989 EBHQ-sponsored trip to Japan. The beautiful wedding quilts she and EBHQ friends made for her daughters and simple quilts made for grandchildren will long be treasured.
Gay is survived by her husband, Lloyd, and three children: Pam Kahl of Portland, Oregon; Christopher Austin of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Jennifer Blair of Ridgefield, Connecticut. She is also survived by three grandchildren: Keegan Kahl, Tilden Blair and Schuyler Blair. The family was blessed to all be together two years ago in Carmel, CA for a week-long celebration of Gay and Lloyd’s 50th wedding anniversary.
A service and celebration of Gay’s life will be held on Saturday, July 20th beginning at 3pm at Sunset View Mortuary in El Cerrito.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Heifer International.