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Margaret Lee Austin LeMaster

September 19, 1943 - November 25, 2021

Margaret Lee Austin LeMaster of Hendersonville, NC passed away on November 25th after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was born in Smithfield, NC on September 19, 1943; the second child of Bill Joe and Lucile Austin.  Margaret was a graduate of Smithfield High School, University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Bachelors), and James Madison University (Masters).

One of Margaret’s proudest early accomplishments was fighting to break a longstanding tradition, being the first female to be permitted to enroll in physics at her high school. She went on to become a devoted educator for many years. Margaret served as a teacher, administrator, and assistant superintendent for Warren County, Virginia schools where she was much loved and respected. Always striving to learn and grow, Margaret earned a counseling degree after relocating with husband Leonard to Tucson, AZ in 1992. Some of her most cherished time as an educator was spent there as an innovative and highly effective elementary school counselor. Margaret later returned to NC with Leonard in 2004, settling in Hendersonville where the two of them lived happily together until his passing in 2020. In Hendersonville, she continued to pursue her lifelong passions, working in counseling ministries, participating in Jungian dream groups, and joining multiple book clubs. Margaret was an active member of the church community that she loved at St. James Episcopal.

For her family, Margaret was, and is, the glue that holds them together. She was a loving and devoted partner to Leonard, selflessly caring for him even while struggling with her own illness. Her family will miss her kindness, compassion, wisdom and wit, and she will be missed by the innumerable friends she treasured, friendships that she cultivated and maintained throughout her life.

Margaret was preceded in death by her husband of 29 years, Leonard LeMaster; her parents, her brother George Willis Austin; step-grandson Daniel DiFrancesco, and her first husband Stephen Duncan Ratcliffe.

Margaret is survived by her sons, William David Ratcliffe and his wife Ana of Vienna, VA and Stephen Keith Ratcliffe and his wife Ruthie of Glen Burnie, MD.  Her step-children are Michael Dennis LeMaster of Ft. Walton Beach, FL, Karen Ann LeMaster of Batavia, NY, Susan Denise Bieber and her husband Bob of Hamburg, NY, and Damian Michael Oliver LeMaster and his wife Carson of Rabat, Morocco.  Her brother, William Joseph Austin, Jr. and his wife Gail of Raleigh, NC and sister-in-law Emory Austin of Rock Hill, SC.  Margaret was blessed with 13 grandchildren; Michael, Stephen, Meaghan, Margaret, and Anna; and the step-grandchildren who adopted her as their own; Angi, Danny, Leah, Jimmy, Emily, Nicholas, Robert, and Jamie.  Her step great-grandchildren are Anthony, Joey, Vincent, and Raven.  She is also survived by five nieces and nephews, Billy, Beth, Joe, Laura (goddaughter), and Meg.

A memorial service for Margaret will be held at noon on Saturday, December 11, 2021 at St. James Episcopal Church in Hendersonville, NC. The family will receive friends from 3:00-5:00pm at the Grand Ole Hall at Highland Lake Inn & Resort – 86 Lily Pad Lane, Flat Rock, NC. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial gifts be sent to St. James Episcopal Church – 766 N. Main St., Hendersonville, NC 28792.

Service Information

Memorial Information

Date: Saturday, December 11, 2021

Time: 12:00 pm


St. James Episcopal Church

766 N. Main Street
Hendersonville, NC 28791

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