Local child-reading advocate, pianist and violinist Mary Austin passed away Monday, March 9, 2009, with her beloved husband, Doug, at her side.

Mary lived full-time in Idyllwild twice, from 1986 to 1989 and from 1998 to the present. She loved Idyllwild and often said, “The real treasure of Idyllwild is its people.”

Mary was born in Michigan in 1948; her family moved to California in 1960.

She was married to her beloved husband, Doug, for 26 years and she took the greatest of pride that Doug sent her a fresh rose every week for 28 years.

Her many accomplishments included playing in five symphonies, including the Phoenix and Scottsdale symphonies. She co-wrote and provided music for five plays — two which were sold out at the Idyllwild Rustic Theatre.

Her involvement in the Idyllwild community was a great passion for her; moreover, it provided her a sense of spiritual enhancement.

Mary is survived by her husband, Doug; two sons, Jim and Jeff; a daughter-in-law, Mary; two grandchildren, Nathan and Sarah; her mother, Frieda; and her brother, Ed.

A celebration of Mary’s life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on April 25, 2009 at the Amphitheatre of the Idyllwild Arts Campus. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her name to the Idyllwild HELP Center, P.O. Box 660, Idyllwild, CA 92549.