March 13, 1923 ~ January 17, 2009
Mary E. Keating Collins passed away January 17, 2009 in Guilford. Formerly of Gillies Road, Hamden, she was the widow of Thomas F. Collins. Mary is survived by her children: John (wife Lynne) Collins of Millington, NJ, James (Joan Swan) Collins of Quincy, MA, Margaret (husband Donald Varis) Collins of Guilford and Colleen (husband Russell) Shaddox of Hamden; her grandchildren: Meredith Collins of Millington, NJ, Kathryn & Brian Varis of Guilford and Charles Shaddox of Hamden; two siblings: Kathleen & William Keating, both of Hamden; a sister in-law Loretta Keating of Wallingford & several nieces & nephews. Born in New Haven on March 13, 1923 she was a daughter of the late James & Mary Kiley Keating & sister of the late John & James Keating. Though frail in her final years, she continued to live her beliefs in hard work, responsibility & kindness. 'I'm going to help you fix your house up as soon as I get a little better,' she'd told people. She would invariably say, 'I'm glad to see you! You're so good to come!' whether she recognized the visitor or not. As a young woman during WWII, she would work from before sunrise in a bakery, then quickly change clothes to attend a novena service for the safe return of American soldiers. She sold bonds, rolled bandages and sent weekly letters & packages to her own brothers, as well as neighbors & friends serving abroad. She worked much of her life as a waitress, first at the Farm Shop in Orange and later at the Quinnipiack Club in New Haven. She developed close friendships with many of her customers and could easily tell you the birthdays of her regulars as well as their grandchildren's names. She had a great love for children and delighted in her nieces, nephews and grandchildren, as well as many youngsters she cared for at her church, St Rita in Hamden. She enjoyed walking around her neighborhood and always kept dog biscuits in her purse in case she made a new canine friend. She was quick to express gratitude for small kindness with warm notes and often homemade apple pies. Friends may visit with her family at BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden, on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 from 9:30 to 10:30 AM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 AM in the Church of St. Rita; burial will follow in Centerville Cemetery. Memorial contributions honoring her love of children may be made to: The Diaper Bank, 1440 Whalley Ave. #110, New Haven, CT 06515.