Isabel W. Austell
On October 28, 2009, Isabel W. Austell peacefully passed away at the age of 98, after a brief stay at McGraw Hospice in Jacksonville, FL. She lived a great deal of her life in Monticello before moving in the early 1990s to join family members in Fernandina Beach, FL.
Her two daughters called her Mummie or Mum, and her first grandchild named her Lady, a family nickname she kept throughout her life. Her family meant the world to her, and she meant the world to her family. Bel, as she was known to others, loved her many friends in Monticello and was totally happy in Arkansas, which she considered her “real” home.
As a member of First Baptist Church, her pastor considered her a “polished jewel.” She was also past president of both the Monticello Junior Auxiliary and the Drew County Historical Museum, and was active in many community activities in and around Monticello. Bel was an avid bridge player and much in demand for her excellent taste in interior decorating. Bel always said the high points of her life were the times she and husband Bob, and whatever family could come, would set up camp by the White River and “play house.”
She was a true Southern Lady and a talented poet. This one poem sums up her life and wonderfully joyous outlook:
<em>The days have grown much shorter</em>
<em> And the sun not nearly so bright.</em>
<em>The shadows around me have lengthened,</em>
<em> Touching the edge of night.</em>
<em>I step into a sea of silence</em>
<em> And a long, long way from shore.</em>
<em>I look around me astonished:</em>
<em> “Why, I’ve been here before.”</em>
<em>I’ve survived the rite of passage</em>
<em> And reached a place I know well.</em>
<em>‘Tis here that I stored my memories</em>
<em> to sustain me when darkness fell.</em>
<em>There is no sense of strangeness</em>
<em> No fear that I’d lost my way.</em>
<em>So happily I shed the trappings</em>
<em> Of a tattered yesterday.</em>
Bel is survived by her two daughters, Jo Ann Austell Meeks and Betty Bob Austell; granddaughters Mindy Meeks Williams (Larry) and Ann Thompson Carmack (Rob), and great-granddaughter McKenna Lanier Williams.
Bel had a long and happy life, and enriched the lives of those around her. Her family loved her dearly and misses her very much.