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Margaret Wheat Austin

Margaret Wheat Austin, 100 years old, a resident of Argilla Road, Ipswich, who spent much of her adult life in Argentina, died on August 3, 2009 in her home.

Mrs. Austin was raised in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and moved to New York as a young adult. She worked for some years at the Fiduciary Trust Company, where she was one of the few women of that time to make significant advances along the management track. In 1936 she left this promising career to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she was married to Allen Austin, a young manager with the First National Bank of Boston. The couple soon moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they lived for nearly 30 years and raised three children.

In 1964, Mr. and Mrs. Austin moved back to the United States and settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts. While living in Argentina, Mrs. Austin had developed a keen interest in gardening, and in Ipswich, she had the opportunity to pursue that interest and became an accomplished gardener. She surrounded her home with plants and flowers carefully chosen for their foliage and color. Mrs. Austin was especially interested in “old roses” and worked with the Historical Society and Gardening Clubs of Ipswich to restore some of the gardens of historic homes in Ipswich to their original splendor. An old rose garden at the Whipple House in Ipswich has been named in her honor.

Mrs. Austin had a special interest in advancing the welfare of young people. She greatly enjoyed the time that she spent with her own grandchildren, resident in Virginia and in Glasgow, Scotland; and, for many years, she provided support to indigent children living in impoverished regions of Central and South America.

Mrs. Austin is survived by her daughters Elizabeth and Susan, by her son John, by granddaughters Judith and Claire and four great-grandchildren in Scotland; and by granddaughters Jennifer, Elisabeth and Laura and four great-grandchildren in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Virginia.

A Memorial Service will be held Friday August 7, 2009 at 3 pm in the Ascension Memorial Church, 31 County St., Ipswich. Family and friends are respectfully welcomed.

Arrangements under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich.

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