ONEONTA – Jacquelyn Collins, 80, of West Oneonta, a teacher, librarian and wife of an engineer who raised her family in Orange County and retired to Cornwall, England, died on Aug. 26, 2019.
She was born on Jan. 20, 1939, in The Bronx, the first child of John Taylor and Norma Baasch. Her father, known as Jack, rose to lieutenant in the state police, and later was the Town of New Paltz’s first police chief and an Oneonta town justice.
Long Island where the Baasch family had a summer home in Bayport, which, at that time, was a rural village with fields, unpaved roads and quiet beaches.
After moves to Margaretville and Delhi, Jacquelyn received her formative schooling in Oneonta and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education from SUNY Oneonta.
She taught school in Islip, she met an English engineer, Leslie G.H. Pride Collins. After a brief courtship, they were married in Oneonta in 1963. For the next 10 years, Jacquelyn led an itinerant life as her husband’s employment took them successively to seven U.S. states and four countries, moving house 21 times.
She is survived by him and by the four children raised during these travels, Alice Collins; Emily Wong and her husband, Ken; Sally Reidy and her husband, Tony; and Christopher Collins and his wife, Amanda. She is also survived by Joanna Taylor, wife of her late brother John Charles Taylor; by her sister Joanna and her husband, Gary (“Pete”) Christman; and by nine grandchildren.
To bring stability to their children’s schooling, in 1973, he Collins family settled in Warwick, Orange County. Jacquelyn took on several jobs, including employment at Waldenbooks and substitute teaching. She studied library science at The New School in Manhattan and by Long Island University she was awarded her second master’s degree.
She became the first full-time library director in the Village of Maybrook and later the reference librarian in Warwick’s Albert Wisner Library. She filled library positions in other towns and villages in the area, including West Milford and Wayne, New Jersey. She also was a nursery school teacher in Warwick’s First Methodist Church.
Jacquelyn loved swimming and for many years she would swim daily at 6 a.m. in the pool at Warwick’s High School, where she established some good friendships.
She dearly loved books and reading but her strongest talent was in the care and education of little children and she took enormous pleasure in enjoying times spent with her grandchildren, especially when they were young. She was active in the AAUW when it had a chapter in Warwick and was a member of the historical society for 45 years.
After their children took up professions and left the Warwick home, Jacquelyn and her husband acquired a 17th century stone cottage in the lovely old fishing village of Kingsand in Cornwall, England, dividing each year between there and Warwick. She enjoyed accommodating and entertaining kinfolk and friends in both homes and she loved international travel with her husband, especially river and ocean cruises and long trips by car in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
To be nearer to their daughter Alice, Jacquelyn and her husband moved in early 2019 from Warwick back to the family home where she had been raised, in West Oneonta. She was promptly admitted to a nearby care home in Cooperstown, where her life ended six months later with Leslie by her side. She donated her body for medical research. There will be no funeral.
The grief in Jacquelyn’s family and among her friends is profound, but relieved by recollection of the fullness of her life. She came from a family respected in the community. She achieved academic distinction and raised four successful children. All nine of her grandchildren show great promise. She enjoyed exciting travel and vacations, good friendships and comfortable homes. Truly, hers was a life well lived.
Any memorial donations should be sent to organizations seeking a cure for Alzheimer’s disease or providing help to families afflicted by it.