Beverly Elaine Collins was born October 8, 1925 in Lowell, Massachusetts to Etta and Cliff Blaisdell. She died within the comfort of her family in her daughter’s home, under Hospice care, February 28, 2018.
Mom was the second of four lively and talkative girls. She was three years old when the Great Depression started and 15 when WWII broke out. She went to college and married a Harvard-educated doctor then went with him to the West Coast leaving her family and friends in Massachusetts. They travelled across country in an old Ford with $100 in their pockets. She worked in San Francisco as a Registered Dietician while her husband completed his residency. Later she raised two daughters and a son. She backpacked with her husband and family most weekends and much of the summers from the time her children were just babies. Her heart had not been in backpacking but it had been in enjoying time with her family. Mom and our Dad parted ways in 1973 with different paths ahead of them.
Mom worked at SF General Hospital during the late 70’s and early 80’s when the AIDS epidemic hit. Her supervisor told her to stay away from the AIDS patients as no one knew at that time how the disease was transmitted. Yet, they had no appetite and wasted away, so she talked with each of them and brought them ice cream, pudding, anything they would eat. “Isn’t that dangerous?” her family asked. “Maybe if I take care of them they’ll live long enough for the medicines to make them better,” she said. “I have to try.” Mom was compassionate and passionate about her work.
She worked with the homeless who came to SF General for emergency care. One Christmas her son walked with her by the Emporium on Market St in SF, past the ‘bums’ there. One of them called out, “Hello, Mrs. Collins.” She went over to him and shook his hand. He introduced her to his buddies as “the lady who helped me get better.” That’s when we stopped seeing these people as ‘bums’ and saw them as people in need, just as our mom always had.
After she retired, life was quiet, but she was proud of her children, grand-children and great-grandchild. She took trips with daughter, Wendy, to Florida and New Orleans. Mom liked Dixieland Jazz and Souza marches. She had a drum set that she wanted to leave for her great-grandson. She wasn’t the type to complain, and wouldn’t tell doctors of her ailments. You certainly wouldn’t TALK about the ailments. She was frugal and hated spending money on things like air conditioning or personal comforts for herself. Lessons learned during the Depression stick with you.
Mom will be missed for her love, comfort, wisdom, and unending support. She will live on in our hearts and in the ways we live our lives guided by her moral compass. She is survived by her children, Wendy Collins, Paula (Tom) Green, Roger (Cindy) Collins, grandchildren Deanna (Shawn Davenport) Green, Chelsea (Andrew Ellard) Green, and Melissa (Ivan) Oien, great grandson Hugo Davenport, her sister Gloria (Sam) Goodsoozian, nieces Sandra Goodsoozian, Marilyn (Dale) Kanouse, and Connie Bullock, nephews Ken (Sandy) Bullock and Glenn (Jennifer) Goodsoozian, and great nieces and a great nephew. As per mom’s request the service will be a private family service at Tulocay Funeral Home.