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Marilyn Helen (MacMaster) Austin made her transition on June 2, 2020. She was predeceased by her mother Helen (Gleason) MacMaster, father George W. MacMaster, and brother George M. MacMaster.
Marilyn was born in Syracuse, and was a lifelong resident. She was a pioneering woman of Syracuse's LGBTQ community, as well as a staunch feminist, and social justice activist & advocate. Marilyn loved a good political debate!, and would readily seek out political discussion.
The term “social butterfly” could easily be used to describe Marilyn. Peruse her weekly date book, and one could find many appointments of the social kind, such as coffee with friends at Recess, a lunch date with one of her kids or grandkids, meetings with her book club, get-togethers with childhood schoolmates, as well as walking and exercise classes, potlucks, and dances at SAGE Upstate, to name only a few. Friends, throughout her life, are too many to count, and hail from a variety of intersecting circles among the Syracuse community.
As a young adult, Marilyn graduated from LeMoyne College, and at the age of 52, she graduated with a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from SUNY Oswego.
Marilyn’s work life was eclectic. In the 1970s, she was co-owner of Women Works, a women-owned home repair, painting, and carpentry business, one of her many glass-ceiling shattering endeavors. She was a founding member and for a time, Director, of the Women’s Information Center, a safe space for women regardless of socioeconomic status, race, creed, or sexual orientation. For a time, she was executive director of ECOH (Euclid Community Open House), now Westcott Community Center, and held a position as Energy Auditor for Onondaga Cooperative Extension.
After receiving her graduate degree, Marilyn worked in several different roles, including as an employment counselor with Jobs Plus, a program specialist with the Food Bank of CNY, senior counselor/case manager with both Syracuse Brick House and Liberty Resources, as well as a chemical dependency therapist with Crouse Irving-Memorial Hospital.
Post-retirement, Marilyn continued doing handy woman jobs for friends and acquaintances, helped with care of her grandchildren, and occasionally worked for the Board of Elections.
Marilyn is survived by her children, Sara Austin-Wilson of Navarino, Pete Austin of Syracuse, and Christine Austin of Bellingham, WA. She is survived by her grandchildren Benjamin and Natalie Wilson of Navarino, and Kevin Battersby of Raleigh, NC, as well as so very many beloved friends.
Marilyn was interred on June 8th during a private burial service at Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve in Newfield, NY. A celebration of her life will take place when conditions allow.
Contributions in her memory may be made to SAGE Upstate or The Food Bank of CNY.
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