Mary Lyndall Turner Austin passed away suddenly at the age of 86 on December 8, 2022, surrounded by her family.
Whether you knew her as Lynda, Mimi, Mom, Mrs. A, or Lu Lu, Lynda was a beautiful person inside and out; loved by everyone who knew her.
Lynda was born in Memphis, Tennessee to Mary Louisa Trout and Lynwood "Woody" Turner on June 22, 1936. She grew up on Chisca Street and was a graduate of Messick High School. She attended Memphis State University and was active in her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta. In 1956, she married her childhood sweetheart, William Hoytte Austin, Jr. and moved to Lake Cormorant, Mississippi. It was there where Lynda and Bill raised three children on Bill's family's dairy farm.
After her children began to leave the nest, Lynda entered the workforce outside of the home. She worked at Memphis Bank and Trust and later Merrill Lynch, where she began what would become a long career in finance and breaking glass ceilings. Calling on her trademark grace and efficiency, Lynda quickly rose through the ranks to become one of their first female managers.
After retiring from Merrill, she became involved in countless civic organizations in her beloved DeSoto County. She served many terms as an alderman for Memphis, Mississippi, (now Walls), and later became mayor of the town, the first female mayor in DeSoto County's history. During Lynda's tenure as mayor, she implemented and improved countless practices, notably the granting of paid holiday leave for police officers, which had never been done before. She also did not accept a salary for her position as mayor, opting for those funds to be directed towards the continued betterment of the town. Like everywhere she went, she left Walls a better place.
After serving as mayor for two terms, Lynda’s contributions to her community continued. She served on numerous boards and was an instrumental member of the DeSoto Arts Council. She was also an active member of the Felix Lebauve Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a board member of The House of Grace and a certified Master Gardener. She served on the Walls Planning Commission and became involved with the newly established Community Foundation of North Mississippi, serving on its board and eventually becoming its chairwoman. Lynda was selected as The Community Foundation's Woman of the Year in 2018 which was awarded to her at The Crystal Ball before a grateful community and proud family.
Lynda was a force of nature, a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, mother-in-law, and friend. She loved to travel, garden, volunteer, cheer on her Ole Miss Rebels, New York Yankees, and above all, spend time with her family, who will miss her forever. She treated everyone with respect and was beloved by all her family and friends.
Lynda was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Judy, and her brother, Fredrick. She is survived by her husband, Bill, her daughters, Caroline Austin Rosser (Tommy), Mary Austin Monteith (Sturgis), her son, William Hoytte Austin, III (Amy), her granddaughters, Caroline Hudson Burgess, Mary McGhee Monteith Hollister (Jamison), Amanda Josephine "Josie" Austin, Dianna Rosser Aprile (John), her grandson, John Austin Monteith (Chris) and her great grandson August “Gus” Jamison Hollister, and a beloved nephew Michael Florence, (Teresa), three great nephews and a great niece. She also leaves behind her loving adopted family, the Huertas, along with a host of lifelong friends.
A Celebration of Life was held on December 13, 2022, at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church at 8425 Getwell Road in Southaven. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St Timothy’s Episcopal Church (8245 Getwell Rd. Southaven, MS 38672) or St Jude.