(All Images via: NYCDreamin Archives)
Today would have been Mom's 66th birthday. She has been gone now for 5 & 1/2 years, taken from this world by her God after a long struggle with severe brain damage incurred after a botched open-heart surgery in 1991, after which the good lord blessed her with breast cancer which eventually took her life.
I miss her very much and still think about her every single day.
This post is in her memory...
Obituaries - Aitkin Independant Age - 01/14/04
(With additional information by NYCDreamin)
Y. I. Collins, 60, Crosby, died Jan. 10th 2004 at Cuyuna Regional Care Center in Crosby.
She was born June 10th 1943 in Crosby, MN to A. & S. Erickson. She graduated from Crosby-Ironton High School, class of 1962.
She married shortly after high-school and moved with her husband to Grand Rapids, MN, where she soon landed a job as a copy-writer and on-air personality at KOZY-AM radio.
During her marriage to her first husband, they adopted a son (me) in 1970. Yvonne later married (her second husband) of Aitkin, MN and they adopted a son (the ingrateful little snot who never once came to visit her or even send her a birthday or Christmas card for the last several years of her life but kindly decided he could make it to the funeral.)
She worked several years as a secretary in Aitkin. Later (early-mid 1980's) as an entreprenuer, she founded, owned and operated "The Promise Place," a Christian book and gift store. She then started a second business, "Collins Creations" (later also known as "The Sandman), a custom sandblasting/ceramics/artwork business for which she was the sole creative force. Her hobbies included painting, writing poetry, painting, drawing and calligraphy. She was also a pretty good piano player and she loved to sing as well.
An original invoice sheet from Mom's second business, Y. Collins Creations.
As an active member of the Aitkin community, she was a youth counselor for the Aitkin United Methodist Church where she led the church youth group and began a "clown ministry with the kids there. The clown ministry would dress up and perform skits and songs and read to and spend time with the elderly residents of local nursing homes and patients in local hospitals. Around this time she also worked as an employee of the McGregor Day Activity Center, providing transportation to medical and other appointments for residents of the center.
Yvonne, along with her second husband and several of their friends and associates, was also a driving force behind the creation of a "Teen-Center"/arcade which operated in Aitkin for a few years during the mid-1980's. She was also a member of the Aitkin area Chamber of Commerce during the years in which she operated her various businesses in the city, a member of the Aitkin Friends of the Arts, and was also president of the Miss Aitkin Queen pageant for three years.
"The Sportsman's Prayer" - A Y. Collins original...
After suffering severe brain damage from a botched heart surgery in 1991, she fought to regain he independence and continued using her talents to spread the love of God. She moved to Hutchinson, MN where she lived and worked independently for several years before returning to Crosby in March 2001 when she developed matastatic breast cancer. She became a resident of the Cuyuna Regional Care Center at that time and lived there until her death in 2004. Through all her trials and pain, she never faltered in her faith and love of her God.
Below are a few more examples of artwork which Mom created at some point during the early-mid 1980's, a period of intense creative activity for her. I have many more which I will share at some point in the future. There are many more which I do not have access to as they reside with the A-hole I used to call my brother. These are unfortunately lost to me for all time. And then there is all the artwork she sold through her business. She and my step-father (also deceased) sold their creations all over the MN/WI/ND/SD/IA area and I am always on the lookout for pieces of her art to pop up at a garage sale or flea market. I have yet to find a siingle piece, but I continue looking as I know it's out there, waiting to be returned to my collection.