Attorney Sandra Rennie Austin, 56, of Marlborough passed away peacefully at her home on May 27, 2021. She was surrounded by her loving children. Her passing came after a two-year battle with cancer that ultimately ended, but did not define, her unique and beautiful life.
Sandi was the daughter of Linda (Coutu) Rennie and the late Deputy Fire Chief Robert Rennie. She was born on November 20, 1964 and spent her childhood and much of her adult life living in Marlborough. From an early age, Sandi held deep love for both dance and foreign languages. She danced at Marlborough’s local studios, but also trained at Walnut Hill in Natick, with Syliva Silverman in Sudbury and with the Boston Ballet School. Her passion for language inspired her to apply to a high school exchange program, which took her to France in the summer of 1981. She would later reconnect with the French family who hosted her, visiting them for several weeks in the spring of 2019.
After graduating from Marlborough High School in 1983, Sandi spent a year at Anna Maria College, while working at Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers, and eventually enlisted in The United States Air Force. She was one of just a few select candidates in her class to pass through the Air Force’s highly competitive Russian linguist program. She was then posted at a listening station at RAF Chicksands in England, where she translated Russian messages during the latter stages of the Cold War.
After the Air Force, Sandi returned to the US with her husband, Donn Clarke, and soon gave birth to her first child, Nathan, in March of 1989. Following her divorce, Sandi and her son returned to Marlborough in the early 90s, where she set about establishing the next phase of her life. She graduated with a degree in psychology from Worcester State in 1993 and married George Austin, before giving birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1994.
It was around this time that Sandi purchased her dream home: an old Victorian downtown that she had often imagined living in as a child. Over the next 28 years, she worked to renovate the house and in return, it served her well; first as a cherished family home and later as her law office, after she graduated from Massachusetts School of Law at Andover in 2010 and passed the bar exam the following year.
Sandi was well-respected in the legal community and always served her clients to the best of her ability. She won many significant victories for her clients and gave others peace of mind through her expert estate planning. She was fiercely independent and while she enjoyed working alongside other attorneys, she maintained her own practice throughout her career.
Sandi’s inherent kindness was always tied to a spirit of service that manifested in all sorts of ways. She worked with teenagers in a group home, hosted foster children, taught an ESL course, assisted special needs campers at Grotonwood, led a Girl Scout troop, founded a neighborhood association, led women’s organizations and donated countless hours of service to local schools, churches, sports teams and the city of Marlborough, where she had many great friends over the years.
After her divorce in 2015, Sandi grew in new and profound ways. She developed a greater sense of spirituality and began to feel more assured in her perspective as a woman. She spoke louder and more confidently on issues of justice, particularly concerning women’s rights, a cause which had always been close to her heart. She spent more time in nature, fell in love again and saw the world with hope and gratitude, even during challenging times. She loved her family, Maine and quiet places; she loved the fall, French love songs, British TV and the sounds of the city. But most of all, Sandi loved helping people. Her loving spirit will be truly missed by all who knew her.
Sandi is survived by her mother, Linda Rennie of Marlborough. Her children, Nathan Clarke and his fiancé Elizabeth Walker of Franklin, and her daughter, Elizabeth Austin of Marlborough; her Sister, Victoria Poore and her husband Phil Poore of Winston Salem NC; her brothers, John Rennie, of Barlett, NH, Donald Small and his wife Cathy of Clinton, and Jason Leahy of Minnesota. She was a loving aunt to many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her partner James Cawley of Laconia, NH.
Calling hours will be held at Slattery Funeral Home Inc., 40 Pleasant Street, Marlborough, MA on Thursday, June 10, 2021 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Sandra Rennie (Rennie) Austin, please visit our floral store.