Remembering Joan Austin
In remembering her, she said her ethics were always above reproach and she was always very concerned about individual people.
“You can’t say enough about how honest she and the whole family are,” Haugen said. “Clearly, she was the flag carrier for the family values. In family business, she would serve in the role of CEO — Chief Emotional Officer.”
She was also very committed to keeping A-dec a family business.
“On one hand, she was a very gentle person,” Haugen said. “On the other hand, when it came to business matters, she could be very firm and stay the course.”
It was very clear, she said, that Joan had an excellent business sense and was a good judge of people’s character. But she also had a good sense of humor. She adored her family and they came first.
“She was an absolute delight to work with,” Haugen said. “You didn’t work for her. You worked with her.”
Joan’s visionary skills, Haugen recalled, were applied to The Allison Inn & Spa, which opened in 2009.
“She wanted to create an environment that would be a unique project for Newberg and Yamhill County. Her instructions were pretty simple: ‘Do it right.’”
In her philanthropy work, Haugen said that Joan was very supportive of education, not only in Newberg, but also at Linfield College, Oregon State University and the A-dec campus.
Dennis Lewis said he worked with Joan since his early days of involvement in the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce. He recalled standing on a grassy hill at the edge of town, looking at what is now The Allison, with Joan envisioning a destination resort that is now reality.
“She was so respectful to our area,” Lewis said. He explained that as much as possible, she kept the work local, understanding the value of using the local economy to help build her dream.
“She also understood putting together things that would benefit the community as a whole,” said Lewis. In that respect, Lewis said, Joan and the Austin family have been strong supporters of the Chehalem Cultural Center and would bring the Oregon Symphony to Newberg for a concert.
“She was a force,” Lewis said. He described her as a person with a quiet demeanor and loving care.
“Behind that very unimposing individual was a powerhouse of energy to do things for the community at large,” he said.