EQUALITY – Joan Ellen Collins, 83, passed away Friday morning, Dec. 16, 2016, after a lengthy illness.
She was born April 8, 1933, in Christopher to John R. and Lorraine (McCaslin) Bodeck. She was preceded in death by her mother and father; older sister, Theresa Salzman; and infant grandson, Joel Mark Brothers.
Joan graduated from Carbondale Community High School in 1951 and then attended Southern Illinois University. Intelligent and creative, she excelled in her course work, the arts and sports. She especially loved literature, Spanish, art, theatre and playing basketball as a forward.
Her first job was as a car-hop at Little Bill"s restaurant in Carbondale, and she also worked in Carbondale and Harrisburg as a telephone operator. Joan was an election judge for many years in Harrisburg and a volunteer for several politicians. However, Joan found working with children her true career and calling.
For two years, Joan ran a children"s summer nutrition program through U. of I. Extension campus, but she especially loved the years she spent as an aide at the AL Bowen Children"s Center; she often brought some of her "work children" home for the holidays with her own family.
She loved reading, writing, playing piano, coaching girls" softball and bowling on a women"s league. Active with Shawnee Saddle Club, Joan also enjoyed fishing, gardening and taking care of the many pets, especially dogs, she and her family brought home over the years. She even accepted the one she was told followed a family member all the way home, as well as a neighbor"s boxer that decided it preferred living at Joan and Don"s house.
Joan collected antique glassware, salt shakers and dolls. Her doll collection was tremendous, eventually including a special doll room in her last two homes, after she moved from Harrisburg to Equality. The heart of Joan Collins, however, was her large, blended family, which includes her husband of 47 years, Donald W. Collins, and her five children, Robyn Williams (Jim) of Cave-In-Rock, Mark Brothers (Garna) of Saratoga Springs, Utah, Deborah Brothers (John Paul Jaramillo) of Springfield, Doug Collins of Equality and Darrin Collins of Stonefort; and 12 grandchildren, Nell (Ron) Fleming, Katy Balma, Maggie (John) Dorsey, Sarah (Tom) Catt, Joel (Fernanda) Styzens, Wesley (Robie) Williams, Jon (Erin) Brothers, Zach Brothers, Galen Brothers Furry, Jessika Collins, Alexis Collins and Brandon Collins. Joan and Don raised Brandon most of his life.
Other survivors include 10 great-grandchildren, Tim Fuller, Jake Fuller, Riley Catt, Ronnell Fleming, Joe Catt, Abbey Dorsey, Andy Dorsey, Anna Belle Dorsey, Lilu Brothers and Colin Williams; sister and brother-in-law, Jeannean and Richard Carter of De Soto; brother-in-law, Howard Salzman of Miami, Florida; and nephews and their families, Terry Salzman, Scott Salzman, Tom Salzman and John Richard Carter.
Additional survivors include her mother-in-law, Betty Collins, sister-in-law, Pat Newman, and brother-in-law, Mike (Paula) Collins and their family, all of Henderson, Kentucky.
Joan had a special and individualized relationship with each member of her family, all of whom dearly loved her and deeply grieve her passing. A private family Celebration of Life service has been set for a later date.
The family would like to thank her fine team of health care providers. The past nine months included frequent hospitalizations, and so a special thank-you goes out to Stephanie Franklin and the many HMC doctors, nurses, CNAs and respiratory staff members who laughed with her and cared for her.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Harrisburg Medical Center Foundation or Hospice of Southern Illinois.
Vickery Funeral Chapel in Equality is in charge of arrangements.
Internet condolences may be made at www.vickeryfuneralchapel.com.