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Mary "Jean" Collins, daughter of Oscar and Evelyn Neuman, Elroy, Wisconsin, died peacefully in her sleep at age 86 on September 29, 2012. She was born on May 18, 1926. She married her high school sweetheart, Horace (Bub) Rexford Collins, on June 17, 1949 enjoying 23 years of marriage.
Jean graduated from Elroy High School in 1944. She attended college at Lacrosse State University and graduated from Business College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She worked at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company before moving back to Elroy after her marriage to Bub. Her time as a stay-at-home-mom raising her children was one of her greatest joys. Prior to retirement, she contributed her many gifts as a CNA with Heritage Manor in Elroy for almost 30 years. In 2004, she moved to Wausau to live with her eldest daughter and son-in-law.
To those who know and loved her, Jean's attributes included her kindness, generosity, loving spirit and her interest in other people's lives. Her friends and family will miss her quick wit and considerate and self-effacing character. Jean would describe herself as an animal lover (especially dogs). She was an avid reader of books, newspapers and magazines. She felt it was important to be informed. Other favorite pastimes she enjoyed throughout her life, included gardening, playing Scrabble, crossword puzzles, piano, bird watching; being in nature enjoying all outdoor life and cooking. Jean was a creative and very good cook. She was always sharing new recipes and cookbooks with her children.
She served on the Organization for Plymouth Congregational Church, and volunteered to lead both Boy and Girl Scouts when her children were young.
Jean is survived by her six children and 10 grandchildren: Carla (Phil) Salamone, (Philip, Charlie (Erin), Anne and Lindsey); William Collins (Ian); Barbara Gunderson (Clay and Bryce); Laura Collins (Erik); Robert Collins, and Mary (Mark) Johnsrud (Alison and Amelia); and great grandchildren Rachel and Israel Salamone. Her parents and a grandson, Aaron Johnsrud, preceded Jean in death.
The family would like to thank Interim Home Health staff, Dr. Kay Gruling, Dr. Katherine Patterson and the staff of Mountview Care Center, South Shore unit, especially Trisha, RN; Mary RN; Felicia CNA & Keith, CNA for the compassionate and loving care they provided Jean.
At Jean's request, there will be a Memorial Service. The family is planning for mid-October. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Elroy Public Library. Mid-Wisconsin Cremation Society is assisting the family. Online condolences may be expressed at www.mwcs.ws.
Published in the Wausau Daily Herald on Oct. 3, 2012