Barbara Collins

Obituary of Barbara Collins

Barbara Andrus Collins, 93, wife of the late Stewart B. Collins, of Frederick, PA, passed away Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at Frederick Living, Frederick, PA. She previously lived in Skippack, PA; St. Louis, MO, and Trappe, PA. Born in Philadelphia, PA, on March 24, 1921, she was the daughter of the late Donald T. Andrus and the late Ethel Phoebe (Button) Andrus. She had three older sisters, who pre-deceased her: Katherine A. Bird of Tulsa, OK; June A. Bryner of Bradford, PA, and Rachael A. Meixell of DeWitt, NY. Barbara was raised in Bradford, a small town nestled in the Allegheny Mountains of northwest Pennsylvania. She always remembered playing with her three sisters around the "up-downs" (pumps) on the oil fields near their hometown. The outbreak of World War II found Barbara attending Connecticut College for Women in New London, CT, where she and her classmates learned to identify military airplanes that flew over their college campus and helped the war effort as volunteer "plane spotters." She graduated with a degree in economics and, as she was always good with numbers, she used this skill while employed as a part-time tax preparer for many years. It was on a blind date when Barbara met Ensign Stewart B. Collins from Philadelphia, who was attending Officer Candidate School at the nearby Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. When asked by one of her granddaughters why she was attracted to Stewart, she replied, "He didn't drink, and that was refreshing. We both loved to swim and walk. We had so many things in common." Beginning as a good friendship, their romance bloomed when Stewart came home on leave, and they soon were engaged. Stewart served overseas during the war, and they were married in Barbara's hometown of Bradford on November 18, 1944, while he was home on leave. After the war ended, they settled down in the Philadelphia suburbs to begin their lives together. Stewart had a long career at Drexel University, while Barbara raised three children: a son, the late Stewart A. "Andy" Collins, and daughters, Joan C. Brandt of St. Louis, MO, and Katherine C. Black of Skippack, PA. Barbara and Stewart were married for 69 years, until he passed away on March 31, 2014. Barbara was always devoted to her family, which grew to include: daughter-in-law, Robin Scott Collins of La Canada, CA; sons-in-law, James A. Brandt of St. Louis, MO, and Rick D. Black of Skippack, PA; nine grandchildren and a still-growing number of great grandchildren. She was an avid knitter and made bright colored mittens and caps, vests and sweaters. Barbara was also gifted at decoupage, meticulously decorating lamps and other items for the home. In addition, she hooked rugs for her grandchildren. One granddaughter remembers fondly how Grandma was the one who always had time to patch together "Swifty," a much-loved stuffed rabbit. Barbara's generosity to others knew no bounds. She helped many of her grandchildren pay for college, donated generously to her Christian Science church, and supported many causes, with special attention to human rights. Barbara once reminded one grandchild, "as you get older, you learn that all that matters is people, not things." She was a lifelong support to Stewart and his family members, honoring them as she did her own close-knit family. She maintained strong ties with her three sisters and their families and warmly welcomed all those who married into the Collins family. It seems that the love Barbara freely gave to others was returned to her when, unsolicited after several minutes of silence, she recently told a granddaughter, "I am loved." Her unselfish and spiritual values are an inspiration to all. Services and interment will be private. Memorial contributions may be made in Barbara's memory to: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1 Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115.
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