12/8/1904 - 3/19/2006
Evangeline Collier, born on December 8, 1904, in a
Haynesville, ME farmhouse, had two older brothers, John and Ray,
and four younger siblings, Julia, Lucy, Maurice and Clara. As other
children on a farm at the turn of the century, she had in-house
chores, but she soon learned to harness horses, milk cows, feed and
water the chickens, long before she was ten years of age. It fell
her lot to also care for younger siblings especially when her
mother was often ill.
She went to grammar school through the seventh
grade but times were tough in old Maine. At 15, she worked in the
clothespin factory and married Paul Campbell at 18. After two
daughters were born, divorce clouded her young life.
Vangie, never one to sit down, spent summers as a
waitress in the Wentworth Hotel, N.H. dining room and winters in
Sanford, ME, textile mills until the Depression hit Maine and the
rest of the country. Back she went to housekeeping and anything
else possible, just to keep her little family supported. During
this tight time while working in Hartford, CT, she attended
Adventist meetings and committed her life to her Best Friend. Back
to Sanford, ME, she worked again in the Sanford mills. After much
prying, she told us how tedious and long those days were-modern
machinery had not yet been invented.
Life seemed to look easier in 1938 when she
married Wendell Collier. Didn't work out and after a divorce in
1957, she worked as nurse's aid at Bixby Hospital in Long Beach,
CA, and later at Hoag Memorial where she earned her LVN. She
continued working until she retired at 65.
She moved to Redwood City, CA, where she helped
baby-sit two granddaughters Alison and Susan for five years. Then
on to Santa Rosa and a beautiful mobile home where we shared
several Christmases. She moved to Auburn, CA, in 1988 and lived in
a neat retirement home until it seemed best to move in with Helen
in her commodious home. Time moved on and it became necessary to
move into Auburn Gardens Nursing Home where she soon provided the
happiest, cheeriest room in the Home. She was the pride of the
nursing staff until she went to sleep on March 19, 2006 awaiting
the Voice of her Best Friend.
All these years, she never stopped reading,
studying, thinking. To discuss most anything with her, you would
think she had a college education. She had the grand perspective of
harnessing horses, watching men on the moon, and enjoying her
bright red car until she volunteered to give up driving when she
was 95. Not many today had her amazing memory and her almost
incredible life experiences.
She never stopped using her hands. Either it was
the Auburn Journal that she read up until the last few weeks of her
life; or, her beloved Bible or The Desire of Ages or, books that
her grandchildren would give her; or, making bets with most anyone
in her large family; or watching the San Francisco Giants on TV.
Knitting and crocheting was her hobby besides reading. Many of us
have an Afghan that we will treasure for years go come.
How she loved her family-her daughters, her
grandchildren and their children. She would forever ask about what
each were doing. And she had a flypaper memory because if one of us
slipped up on anything, she would remind us that we said that this
child was doing this or that and what happened? And on the
conversation would go. Amazing memory. Whatever happened to mine?
We will treasure the crocheted Christmas tree ornaments. We will
treasure her wit and her appreciation for anything that anyone
could do for her. She remembered with more detail than I can, every
vacation we took together whether it was the cruises, or the weeks
in Hawaii. All that made being with her so pleasant.
Those five years at the Auburn Gardens Nursing
Home were remarkable. Her nurses loved her dearly. Some of them
would drop by for Mother Collier to pray for them. Often! Her
physician reported to friends in the community that he asked for
her to pray for him when he was going through tough decisions. What
a happy memory that will live on in many lives. We will miss her
but not forget her!
Published in the Gold Country Media
Newspapers on 3/29/2006.