Barbara Collins
1937 - 2016
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Groton - Barbara Collins, 79, born in South Pittsburg, Tenn., passed away peacefully Aug. 15, 2016, in Groton, of natural causes.

She is survived by her husband, Alfred P. Collins of Groton, to whom she was happily married for 31 years; her daughter, Roberta R. Rosa of Danbury; and her son, Frank Reed of Jamestown, R.I. She is also survived by her step-children, whom she cared for as her own, Jennifer Collins, Joseph Collins, Donald Collins, Jeffrey Collins, and Michael Collins; as well as her grandchildren, Nicholas Rosa and Alexander Rosa; and her step-grandchildren, Kristofer and Onalee Collins; Aedan, Eamon and Hugh Collins; and Matthew, Daniel and Lucy Weir.

She was predeceased by her brother, Philip Burroughs and by her mother, Estelle Burroughs.

Barbara loved writing and journalism her entire life. In high school in Phenix City, Ala., she was awarded a typewriter by the local newspaper in recognition of her talent. Though her family could barely afford two years of college education at the University of Alabama, she became a successful and hard-working journalist. Transplanted to Noank to raise her children, Barbara became the first female bureau chief for the Norwich Bulletin on Main St. in Mystic in the mid-1960s. She also wrote freelance articles for National Fisherman and other maritime publications. She vividly recalled covering the America's Cup Race, bobbing about in the official boat in the Atlantic when the race was still held near Newport.

Barbara soon was hired by The Day of New London as a staff reporter, covering Ledyard town news for many years and later assigned as the newspaper's food editor. She also wrote numerous human interest pieces, extremely popular with readers of The Day, including several holiday articles, one of her personal favorites on "Keeping Christmas". She wrote happily and with great passion for The Day until 1987.

In her newly adopted Connecticut home, where she learned to erase her southern accent to fit in with New England "Yankees", Barbara became one of the founding members of the Noank Historical Society. She was one of its first presidents and chaired many important committees through the 1970s. She was chairman of the NHS's July 4 Bicentennial Celebration in 1976.

As the newspaper industry evolved, Barbara started a small business learning the then-arcane skill of desktop publishing, studying fonts and layout procedures and computer systems but always remaining close to the metal, the art of wordsmithing, as she loved to call it. She parlayed her skills into professional work producing in-house publications and newsletters for the Otis Library in Norwich, the Public Affairs Office at the Subase in Groton, and the Noank Baptist Group Homes. Most recently, Barbara was the editor of the Noank Historical Society's newsletter from 2010 until she fell ill with breast cancer (from which she made a full recovery) in 2013. She was also a founding member of the Southeastern Connecticut Women's Network, devoted to the professional development of women in business.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Barbara found great personal satisfaction managing young women from many countries around the world working for "Au Pair in America". She also dabbled in television when public access TV had great potential. She hosted interview programs in Groton giving voice to unique local points of view, and she was especially proud of her festive Christmas-themed programs.

Barbara loved gardening. In retirement, which she never believed really existed, she entered many of her flowers in local contests and won prizes for her roses and other "beautiful blossoms."

A memorial gathering will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, at Byles-Groton Funeral Home, 310 Thames St., Groton.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Day on Aug. 18, 2016.
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7 entries
August 24, 2016
Even though it is pretty late, we would like to extend our sympathy; prayers and condolences to the family of Barbara Collins.

We are sure that she will be missed by her family.

George and Joan McCusker
August 23, 2016
I am so sorry for your loss. I hope Jer. 29: 11,12 brings you comfort during this difficult time.
August 22, 2016
My heart goes out to you and your family, Frank. I have lovely memories of visiting your mom. She was such a sweet, generous woman, always welcoming groups of your friends into her home. I still have her blue dresser that was from your childhood home in Noank. Glad I kept it. Cherish the memories. Much love to you and your family.
Amy Nash
August 19, 2016
Our Deepest Sympathy to All,
And condolences to Al

Remembering the times we sat in the huge foyer of the Collns home chit - chatting just about everything . BARBARA was always such a pleasure to be around. When riding around to look at Christmas lights yearly Barbara's tree was always lit for the holidays in the front window . When we first met her she was working for The Day ...always caring and doing for others up until her last breath. She touched so many people's lives. If only she had been "cloned" the World would be such a better place with all the Barbara's in it . We still find it hard to believe that she is no longer here with us earthlings. We will always remember her kind heart and love for all.
Love you Dear Friend and Rest in Peace.
You will truly be missed by all .
Amy and Norm Renaldi , Sr
August 19, 2016
Condolences Frank. It sounds like she led an interesting and fulfilling life.
Tim Petes
August 18, 2016
My condolences to you, Frank, and your family. What an accomplished lady, very nice tribute you wrote for her.
Heidi Wain
August 18, 2016
To the family of Barbara -

Barbara was always a pleasant person and a breath of fresh air with her wonderful smile and positive nature. She encouraged me to continue my career in writing for local newspapers and her devotion to journalism was inspiring for others. Her caring for the community was unending. Her volunteer efforts in the local community, politics, and media helped to make southeastern Connecticut a better place for all.
Andrew Parrella
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