Dorothea Emily Collins
March 12, 1933-April 25, 2023
Santa Rosa, CA
Dorothea passed away on April 25, 2023, after a short illness.
Born in 1933 in Boston, Massachusetts, Dorothea and her mom, Dorothy, moved to the home of her Grandparents after the passing of her father when she was three. Her grandparents treated her like she was their own child. She grew up in a house filled with loving aunts and uncles and is fondly remembered by her cousins as “Bunny”, which was given to her as a small child.
Since Bunny was the oldest, she did a lot of babysitting for her cousins. They all remember her reading them stories. Most of all they remember her singing voice. Broadway music was her favorite and throughout the years she performed in several local musicals, once singing at the Boston Pops.
In 1954, Dorothea graduate from Regis College in Weston, MA. Upon graduation she became a teacher, a career that would last her over 35 years.
In 1960 Dorothea married Robert “Bob” James Collins, also of Boston and bought a small house in Westwood, MA. Within a year, their first son, Robert Joseph was born, followed 17 months later by the birth of the second son, Daniel John. The new parents had little time to settle in when Bob’s company transferred him to Michigan. A year and a half later he was transferred to New Jersey and in 1967 the whole family packed up and drove Dorothea’s Oldsmobile 98 convertible to California. After a few years in the San Francisco Bay Area, the lifelong Bostonians decided that not having snow in the winter and humidity in the summer was great and even though other promotions in other places were offered to Bob, they never accepted them.
In 1968, Dorothea became a librarian and English/Drama teacher for the K-8 Menlo Park City School District. She would teach there over the next 21 years, almost all of that time at Encinal School in Atherton. She loved her job and the great co-workers she had: Jean Christ, Pat Hubbard, Evelyn Grandinetti, Paula Chidachimo and so many others. She fondly recalled the several times she was selected by the graduating 8th grade class to be their commencement speaker.
In 1969, Bob and Dorothea bought a house on Holly Avenue in Menlo Park. With a large backyard and a pool it became a summer and entertainment area for her friends and neighbors. The Dallmar’s and the Jorgenson’s would come for a dip and drinks on hot days. The Ellison’s were always invited for holiday dinners and the Sasson’s and their kids could frequently be found in the pool.
When both Dorothea and Bob retired in 1990, they travelled extensively. They took cruises to several places including through the Panama Canal and the South Pacific. They took a course in Italian and went on a tour, the highlight of which was a going to the small village of Nusco where Dorothea’s grandmother has been born. Those years were also spent entertaining their first grandchild, Carolyn, who moved with her parents, Robert and Cheryl, to a house around the corner from them in 1993. Carolyn spent endless picking up apples and splashing in the pool.
In 2013, three years after Bob passed, Dorothea moved to Santa Rosa to be closer to her son, Robert. She moved to Villa Capri, a beautiful assisted living facility, where she struck up a friendship with Mary Lou Delany. Dorothea and Mary Lou were inseparable. If you couldn’t find one of them all you had to do was go to the other’s room where they were always watching TV together. Their friendship was especially important in 2017 when the Tubbs Fire destroyed Villa Capri and a large portion of Santa Rosa. Both Mary Lou and Dorothea lost everything they owned on that October night. Fortunately, they were both able to relocate together to another assisted living within a week and less than two years later they came back to a newly rebuilt Villa Capri.
Dorothea is survived by her son, Robert, his wife Cheryl and their daughter Carolyn of Santa Rosa, and son Daniel, his wife Barbara and daughter’ Rachel and Emily of West Des Moines, IA.