Eleanor Austin was the Godmother to my youngest son, Noah. Eleanor was the second female to be elected moderator of the Plymouth United Church of Christ. She was also the second woman to serve as the chairperson of our Trustee Board. She was a great supporter of my father and a great supporter of me, first when I started out as the Associate Minister of the church and second as I was elected Pastor and Senior Minister. The first major action I took as Pastor was to establish a Scholarship Fund for the Church. Eleanor was one of a handful of persons who helped me to establish the Scholarship Fund Committee. The first year she and the committee cooked breakfast each Sunday for college scholarships. At the end of the first year, the committee was worn out and we could only afford to give each student $50. We sat down after that first Scholarship Sunday and I suggested that we create a monthly offering for scholarships. 32 years later, we now average $1500 per student in scholarships and just under $1million in scholarship awards! Eleanor was right there with me from the beginning. My tenure as Pastor and Senior Minister has been peaceful, positive and calm, but there were two times when once a staff minister accused me of being mean. The other time was a person I had offered a job, who had disparaging things to say about me. I like to think that I am the nicest guy in the world, so I try to keep down confusion in the church. I asked Eleanor to talk with them and like the “Godfather” she made them an offer they could not refuse, and there was peace in the land. Smile.
Eleanor supported my father in his politics, and she also was a major supporter of my politics. Eleanor was a great cook who taught me how to dice an onion. She helped me with virtually every major project at the church including church anniversaries, church meetings, my ordination into the Christian Ministry and much more. She served as the executive director of the Cyprian Center, which was a mental health corporation that was an outgrowth of my father’s desire for a program to assist my sister, Sarah. When she was married, Eleanor doted on her husband, Bob, often serving him his meals in his Lazy-Boy chair. Eleanor and Bob were members of the Koinonians Club, which was a club for young married couples in the church. Once, my father had a little talk with Eleanor and Bob. A few months later she approached my dad and said, “Look what you have done!” Eleanor was pregnant with her second child, whom she named Robyn, in honor of my father – Robyn (Robin) Hood. Smile.
Professionally, Eleanor worked at the Wayne County Juvenile Court and was highly regarded.
In the photo above, Eleanor is holding her God Son, my youngest Son, Noah. I believe this photo was at the graduation of her daughter, Robyn, from Dillard University. I met Eleanor and her family in New Orleans for the graduation. Noah was just a little fellow and I wanted my family in New Orleans to see him. We had a wonderful time and wished Robyn the best.
I thank God for Eleanor, her leadership, friendship and support. She will be greatly missed. The following are the funeral arrangements for Eleanor Austin:
Family Hour: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 10:30 AM
Funeral: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 11 AM
Metropolitan United Methodist Church 8000 Woodward Ave. Detroit, Michigan
Condolences may be sent to her children: Martin and Robyn Austin 8200 E. Jefferson Apt. 1811 Detroit, Michigan, 48214
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Karmanos Cancer Institute 4100 John R. Detroit, Michigan