Stillwater News Press


April 24, 2013

Ruth Marie Ahrberg Austin

Ruth Marie Ahrberg Austin, age 75, passed away Wednesday, April 17, 2013.  Ruth was born on Dec. 19, 1937, in Pawhuska to Fred and Ruth Ahrberg. Ruth was preceded in death by her husband of 49 years, Lt. Col. Jimmie T. Austin, in 2010.  She is survived by her three children and six grandchildren, Anita Austin of Abu Dhabi, UAE, her children Jeff and Joseph; Debbie and TK Smith of Edmond, their children Austin and Taylor; and James and Jennifer Austin of Denton, Texas, their children, Katy and Zach.  She was preceded in death by her parents, and survived by two brothers, William A. Ahrberg and Robert F. Ahrberg. Ruth spent most of her youth in Stillwater and graduated from high school there in 1955. After high school she attended Oklahoma A&M later renamed Oklahoma State University where she was active in her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, and many other collegiate organizations. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1959, then began teaching in Enid while earning her master’s degree also at Oklahoma State University. While in Enid she met and married Jim Austin, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force on Aug. 19, 1961.  Jim and Ruth’s travels with the Air Force took them to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, Clinton Sherman AFB, Oklahoma, Mather AFB, California, Offutt AFB, Nebraska, and Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. She continued to teach until her first child and then substituted until Jim retired from the Air Force in 1979. They settled in Colorado Springs, Colo., where they lived for 29 years. Ruth returned to full-time teaching in 1983 at Carver Elementary School for 10 years and then taught at Holmes Middle School until she retired in 2003. Ruth was very active in leadership positions with the Girl Scouts and her sororities, Pi Beta Phi and Alpha Delta Kappa.  

Ruth enjoyed traveling and realized her lifelong travel dream of many extended trips to Europe visiting her daughter. In 2008, she and Jim moved to San Antonio, Texas, to be closer to their children and grandchildren. In 2012, she very happily moved back to Oklahoma, lived in Edmond and enjoyed visiting with her nearby brothers and their families. Ruth is loved and will be deeply missed by her family and friends.

A service will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Stillwater. Interment will be held Monday at 1 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, San Antonio, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Pi Beta Phi Sorority at Pi Beta Phi Headquarters, Scholarship Fund Oklahoma Beta Chapter, 1154 Town & Country Commons Drive, Town & Country, Mo., 63017, or to Oklahoma State University at

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