Henrietta Thelma Collins (1932 - 2017)

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Henrietta Thelma Collins, age 85, passed away on Nov. 11, 2017, peacefully in her sleep at home in Wasilla, Alaska.
Funeral Mass scheduled for 11:00 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church – 1201 E. Bogard Road in Wasilla, Alaska. She will be laid to rest immediately following the service at Wasilla Aurora Cemetery. Reception is immediately following the burial at the Merchant family home – 3307 S. Jenks Drive, Wasilla, Alaska.
Thelma was born Jan. 23, 1932, on the Medellin Family Ranch outside of Hebbronville, Texas to Gil and Enriquetta (Ramirez) Medellin. She was the eleventh of thirteen children.
She graduated from Hebbronville High School in 1951, then attended Modesto Junior College in California for two years. Upon her return from college, she worked as a clerk in the Hebbronville County Courthouse. She met her future husband Ernest L. Collins on a blind date as a favor to her cousin. They fell in love and married in August of 1954. Thelma raised four children while learning what it meant to be a military wife.
Many times, she single parented as Ernest was transferred overseas, and many times she packed up and moved when orders transferred them elsewhere. She enjoyed traveling the USA and Europe as an Army wife and mother.
In 1967, they did their first duty tour in Alaska, at Eielson AFB. They loved Alaska and decided to retire here. So, in 1974, they returned. After a year at Ft. Richardson, Ernest retired and the family settled in Wasilla, Alaska. She spent the next 43 years enjoying the Mat-Su Valley. Ernest and Thelma were married for 62 wonderful, adventure filled years.
Thelma loved to camp, read, cook, work puzzles, and sew. She loved a good mystery; book or movie. She was a talented seamstress and sewed clothes for herself and her family. She made numerous costumes and outfits for her grandchildren. Her eleven grandchildren were her greatest joy. She never missed a sport event, school concert, play, award ceremony, graduation, birthday party, or a chance to babysit. She loved to be outside with them in the summer, building a treehouse, watching them ride the horses, having cookouts and cranking ice cream. In the winter, she'd have them over for slumber parties, popcorn, and movies. She loved taking her grandchildren to museums and PAC performances, they all enjoyed that time with Nanny.
Ernest and Thelma had a farm and cabin in Willow, Alaska. They spent many summer days at the farm with their horses and grandchildren. Fond memories were made during the haying season; grandkids learning to drive the tractor and hay truck, and building forts with all the freshly stacked bales. She was a wonderful Nanny, so proud of each child and their accomplishments and talents. As the grandchildren married and had their own children, she was ecstatic! She loved her ten great-grandchildren. They in turn, loved spending time with Nanny as much as their parents did.
Thelma was preceded in death by her parents; five young siblings; three adult brothers, Even; Robert; and Rueben Medellin; granddaughter, Gillian Marie Jenks; and beloved husband, Ernest.
She is survived by two sisters, Sara Carpenter; and Lucy Scala; two brothers, Rudy and Rene Medellin; her sons, Jake Collins; Lee Collins (Kim); and Steve Collins (Kellie); daughter, Pollyanna Jenks (Bobby); grandchildren, Ryan Collins (Sharlene); Brook Venning (Lamond); Patrick Collins (Jeri); Connor Collins; Darcy Collins; Ginger Jaksha (Shane); Amy Merchant (Torrey); Katie Likkel (Matt); Molly Blum (Luke); Justin Collins (Amie). Great-grandchildren, Zak; Zoe; Mielee; Preslee; Natalee; Hannah; JoJo; Ivy; James; and Zane. She had a big, beautiful family that loved her dearly and will miss her always.
Arrangements cared for by Janssen's Mat-Su Funeral Home.
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Janssen’s Mat-Su Funeral Home
6901 E. Blue Lupine Drive
Wasilla, AK 99654
(907) 745-5477
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Published in Anchorage Daily News on Nov. 26, 2017