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Official Obituary of

Connie Austermiller

January 20, 1963 ~ February 29, 2024 (age 61) 61 Years Old

Connie Austermiller Obituary

Connie (James) Austermiller was born January 20, 1963 to Alton James and Nancy (Korb) James of East Toledo Ohio.

Wanting to raise their family in a smaller town, they moved to Liberty Center Ohio when Connie's older brother Bob was born. Dianne was then born after Connie, and the family later adopted Kristy. It was a stern but loving home, emphasizing the importance of not lying or stealing. Once Al grounded her for four weeks, one week for the original offense and three more weeks for each lie she told to cover it up. They were very tight knit, and had monthly family meetings where they could discuss anything they wanted, which made them very close. These meetings were where the family decided they wanted to be foster parents. Al had a soft spot for wanting to straighten children's lives out, knowing that the trouble these children faced were through no fault of their own. Al and Nancy were very much in love, always hugging and never fighting, and this showed in how well they raised their children. Connie was always happy as a child. Connie's sister Dianne remembers they would walk together to the ice cream shop or high school, and Connie would be doing cartwheels the entire way.

Two of Connie's big interests in high school were cosmetology and nursing, studying cosmetology at what was then called Penta County Vocational School and taking courses after graduating high school, and working every weekend at a nursing home starting at age 16. This hard work and sacrifice would be a recurring theme all of Connie's life. She also enjoyed playing the flute in high school, and was in the marching band and a flag girl.

Later in life as a single mother, Connie taught her son Jean-Luc compassion, especially for those less fortunate, resilience through adversity, the value of hard work, how to treat people, how to stretch every dollar, and the importance of making your bed each morning (which he still struggles to do). Connie always made sure Jean-Luc had enough food, even if it meant not very much was left for her. They often struggled and relied on church donations and food pantries, though she more than made up for this in the love she gave him. She did everything she could to make sure he was successful later in life. Her memory will continue to provide him and others with inspiration for how to live every day - do what you love and treat others better than they deserve to be treated.

With over 40 years working in home health care, including 30 years in hospice, most recently with Elara Caring, she loved connecting with, and formed tight bonds with, her patients and their families, including learning their life stories and life lessons. She knew exactly how to make her patients' last days the best they could be, and knew exactly how to comfort grieving families. Dozens of former coworkers, patient's families, and friends described her as similar variations of "the most loving, charismatic, positive, compassionate person they had ever met" and "an angel on earth", and as she often said to Jean-Luc, several people telling the same story can't lie. Others described her as "a beautiful person who provided countless others with selfless kindness" and having "a genuine smile, contagious laugh, and beautiful spirit". She will be missed tremendously by all who have known her.

In early 2008, she met Joseph Austermiller and they were quickly married by the end of the year. She would email her mom Nancy, "we have so much in common, mom, it's scary. His parents were married on... guess. June 16", the same date as Connie's parents. Like Connie, Joe was a hard worker, working two jobs most of his life, at a soup plant in Napoleon during the day and as a deputy sheriff at night. They shared many of the same interests- country music, comedy shows, the same TV shows, and the same values. Joe played several string instruments and played in a bluegrass band. They enjoyed taking many cruises, and attending bluegrass events and comedy shows together, until multiple sclerosis slowly took his mobility. Connie selflessly cared for Joe until the day he passed in December 2021, just six days short of their thirteenth wedding anniversary.

Jean-Luc would graduate high school in 2012, leave Ohio to study city planning at Wayne State University in Detroit and graduate in 2017. She told him that his college graduation day was the "second happiest day of my life, only behind the day you were born". He now works for a transit system in Michigan, where he hopes to honor Connie and Joe's commitment to public service and give everyone mobility access to what they need, especially people with disabilities and people of modest means.

The year after Joe's passing, Connie and Jean-Luc took a week-long vacation to New York City, their only real vacation together. This included dinner on top the new World Trade Center (Jean-Luc intricately timed this to have the sun set just as they began to eat and watched the city's lights came alive below), drinks at the Stonewall Inn, sitting in the front row watching Danny DeVito at the Seth Meyers TV show, a museum about the history of the NYC subway system, the 9/11 museum and monument, riding the Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty, the High Line elevated nature path thirty feet above the hustle and bustle of the city, a museum that humanized immigrants' historical journey to the United States through New York, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, bicycling around Central Park, and numerous other art museums and comedy shows. At one sidewalk cafe, she described "the best food she had ever eaten in her life, because all these different cultures come together here and make something wonderful together". Before the trip, Connie told Jean-Luc that they should go all out during the trip because they may not get that chance again, and as she often was, she was right. Jean-Luc will forever treasure this time they spent together.

A few months after this, Connie met Glenn and they quickly fell in love. They were married a few months later. Glenn works at the same soup plant as Joe did, and Glenn knew Joe. Connie and Glenn enjoyed spending their limited time together, especially at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Napoleon, eating at local restaurants, and attending Glenn's son's school functions. They made each other so very happy. They expected many more happy years together and will be reunited again.

Before her passing, she was adamant about becoming an organ donor. Her brother Bob was an organ donor and helped over 150 people with his generosity. Connie's family welcomes the future knowledge of knowing how many more people Connie will continue to help after her passing, and they encourage others to consider this selfless act. She will be laid to rest next to her beloved Joe in St John's Cemetery between Napoleon and Holgate. Her soul is likely sailing away on a bluegrass cruise next to her Joe, and is waiting to be reunited with Glenn when that time comes.

Connie was preceded in death by her father Alton, brother Bob, sister Kristy, and former husband Joseph Austermiller. Left to remember Connie's life are her mother Nancy (John) Gabriel, her sister Dianne Pfouts, her husband Glenn Gibson, her son Jean-Luc Grosjean, stepchildren Alexis (Lexi), Ryan, Trent Gibson, and Craig Austermiller (Rebeca Giles), step-grandson Maximilian, and faithful dog Deano.

Friends can leave tributes online at Hanneman Funeral Home, hannemanfuneralhomes.com. The family requests any generous contributions be made to Feeding America, the Trust for Public Land, the National MS Society, or Elara Caring, and be made as an anonymous gift, just as Connie would have done.

A visitation for Connie will be held at Hanneman Funeral Home in Liberty Center, 302 E Maple St, Liberty Center, OH 43532, on Saturday, March 9, 2024, at 11:00 am until 2 pm. A Celebration of Life Service will immediately follow visitation at 2 pm. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Connie Austermiller, please visit our floral store.

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Services

Memorial Visitation
Saturday
March 9, 2024

11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Hanneman Funeral Home - Liberty Center
302 E. Maple Street
Liberty Center, Ohio 43532

Celebration of Life
Saturday
March 9, 2024

2:00 PM
Hanneman Funeral Home - Liberty Center
302 E. Maple Street
Liberty Center, Ohio 43532

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