Susy Collins

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Susy Collins, who has died at age 77, was a two-term mayor of Valdez, Alaska, in the rollicking boomtown years when the former Gold Rush town on Prince William Sound was transformed into a supertanker port for the Alaska Pipeline in the 1970s; she later served as town clerk in Georgetown.
Susy Collins was born Carroll Susan Baer in Pierre, S.D., on Jan. 6, 1940, to Wally Baer, a newspaper man, and Clarice Carroll Baer, a legal secretary. She grew up in Lead, S.D. - another Gold Rush town, home at the time to the largest gold mine in the Western Hemisphere.
The family relocated to Oregon when she was in her teens; she graduated from Hill High in Hillsboro, Ore., and then attended Oregon State, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. During her senior year at the University of Alaska, she met Dick Collins, a young lieutenant stationed at nearby Fort Wainwright, and the two were married in 1963.
A life in the "black gold" oil business followed, as Susy and Dick traveled to California, Alaska (for a second time), Texas, Colorado and then Alaska (for a third time).
After their two children graduated from college in the late 1980s, Susy began a series of overseas adventures, living for years at a time in Bangkok, Thailand; Manila and Mauban in the Philippines; Istanbul, Turkey; and Fort McMurray, Canada, as Dick spearheaded a series of energy projects.
The bonhomie, wit and joie de vivre that had once served Susy so well as mayor made her a favorite among the ex-pats in each new foreign clime.
Susy and Dick eventually retired to Georgetown - yet another Gold Rush town, this one high in the Rocky Mountains near the Continental Divide.
Susy loved nothing more over the course of the past decade than spending time with her granddaughter, Eloise, and, during the past year, their new St. Bernard, Lady Guinevere.
Susy died peacefully in her sleep while rehabilitating following a stay in the hospital. She is survived by her husband Richard Collins, her son Michael Collins, and her daughter Crissie Collins.
Published in Clear Creek Courant on Dec. 6, 2017