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Helen L. Austin Fraga

Helen L. Austin Fraga (née Patton), 96, died on Monday, July 3, 2017, peacefully in her Ipswich  home following a brief illness.

Helen was the only child of the late James Lothrup and Augusta (née Worthy) Patton. She grew up in Salem and Peabody, where she attended public schools. She maintained a lifelong friendship with a small group of her school “chums,” meeting them regularly for lunch over the years.

Following her marriage to the late James W. Austin, Helen became a lifetime resident of Ipswich. During the 1940s, Helen worked at Sylvania in Ipswich. While raising her family, she studied sewing and tailoring at Essex Agricultural School and made beautiful clothing for herself and her daughters (and their dolls!). She was also an accomplished knitter and cook. (The college care packages she sent to her granddaughter were the envy of the entire dorm.) She was an avid reader all her life, and she loved to sing.

Helen worked for David M. Jewett, MD, in Ipswich and later served as the director of the former Coburn Home in Ipswich where she helped create and manage a late-life community for six women.

Helen is survived by two daughters, Carol Austin and her husband, Tom, of Ipswich and Jan Howarth and her husband, Harry, of Gloucester; two granddaughters, Jamie Wallace of Ipswich and Amanda Sweet of Watertown; and one great-granddaughter, Meghan Wallace of Ipswich.

Private arrangements are under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich.

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