Obituary of Darcy Jo Austin
Darcy Boyd Austin passed away on January 26, 2024, dying as she lived, with a “Make America Kind Again” button lying on her pillow, and surrounded by family and friends encouraging her to have as much fun on her next adventure as she did in this life.
Darcy's life was indeed filled with adventures and fun, mainly due to the zest she brought to everything, whether scraping paint and sanding (self-proclaimed joys), delving into conversations with strangers about to become friends, or challenging conventions about what one can do with Parkinson's (why shouldn't she climb a 30 ft. ladder?).
Born Darcy Jo Miller in NYC in 1942, and raised in Westport, CT, she attended Connecticut College and Teachers College at Columbia University where she earned her MA in Special Ed. She moved to New Mexico in early adulthood with her then-husband, John Boyd, as a VISTA volunteer, and gave birth to her son, Jesse, in Las Vegas, New Mexico in 1970. She moved to Cuba, New Mexico with Jesse in 1976, where she formed unbreakable bonds with many, many life-long friends. Along with being her home when she lived there, New Mexico was always near to her heart, aesthetic sense, and culinary style; she leaves a legacy of aspiring homemade tortilla-makers.
She moved to Maine in 1982 with Jesse, where she became a beloved part of the Midcoast community through her work at Bristol Consolidated School, volunteering for the Bristol Library, the Carpenter's Boat Shop, and CHIP, and helping raise many local children - and their children - in the longest “job” of her life at the Damariscotta YMCA daycare. More importantly, she left a trail of happiness everywhere she went; a trail which was infectious and will spread despite her passing.
Always one to find joy in life, Darcy's life was enriched all the more when she married Jim Austin on July 18, 1993. Together they enjoyed living in the Pemaquid Lighthouse for many years (Darcy had moved there in 1984, having always wanted to be a “Lighthousekeeper”). In 2004, Darcy and Jim moved to an off-the-grid house in the woods in Chamberlain, where they got around the challenge of remoteness by hosting Sunday breakfasts, serving huevos rancheros to anyone and everyone who made the ¼ mile trek down their two-track. It was at that home that they taught her beloved grandson, Elliott, that “roughing it” really isn’t rough at all if you are with people you love. Along with many other joys, Darcy loved to sing, and performed with the Bristol Footlighters, the Sheepscot Valley Chorus, Coastal Chorale, and in the New Harbor Methodist Church choir.
Love surrounded Darcy during her final days, with family and friends visiting and calling and witnessing how she modeled the value of community and shone with the beauty that can be found in each stage of life’s journey. Jim particularly wishes to thank CHANS Home Health and Hospice for their support in her last days, and Rosalee Landry, Angela Kortmeier, and Corinne Eisenman for their care in preparing Darcy's body after her spirit departed.
Children in her life remember ice cream for both lunch and dinner; friends remember her gift of making each one feel most special. Like her mother, Doris Miller, she remains a guiding light to her entire family, as she is to her friends and the communities lucky enough to have had her as a member. Her brother John Miller and sister Holly Miller Watts remember “nothing but love.”
Her friends and family ask that you remember her by eating dessert first, enjoying the snow, planting flowers, attending a protest, talking with respect and an open heart to someone who holds different beliefs, singing, hugging people you love closely, and having, in her words, “too much fun.”
Darcy is survived by her husband, Jim Austin, Jim’s son Christopher Austin, and his daughters, Gwen and Penny Austin, her son, Jesse Boyd, her grandson Emiliano (Elliott) Boyd, her daughter-in-law Sheila Martinez-Lemke, her sister Holly Miller Watts, her brother John C. Miller, her nieces Sara Miller, Kate Watts Gregory, Victoria Watts Donohue, and Alexandra Watts Sise (and their husbands and children to whom she is “Grauntie Darcy”), and by all who hold her in their hearts. A celebration of Darcy’s life will be scheduled for a date to be determined; likely sometime in June. Donations in celebration of Darcy are encouraged to the Heifer Project, the Carpenter's Boat Shop, and the Bristol Area Library. From her family to her friends and communities - thank you for giving Darcy a truly wonderful life.