Norma Collins Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

Ms. Norma Collins

June 29, 1929 - May 19, 2014
Obituary

Norma June (Smith) Collins (84) peacefully met her Lord on May 19, 2014 in Rifle, Colorado Norma was born June 29, 1929 in Rolla, Missouri to Alva James and Birgie Smith. Her mother died three weeks later of appendicitis complications, so she and her sister Delma and brother Donald were raised by their maternal grandparents, Mama Laura and Papa Scott Mitchem of Belle, Missouri. When Mama Laura passed away, Norma went to live with her aunt and uncle, Hobart and Zelma Ross, of Akron, Iowa. After she graduated from high school in Akron in 1947, Norma moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, and attended business college. She also worked at...

Norma June (Smith) Collins (84) peacefully met her Lord on May 19, 2014 in Rifle, Colorado



Norma was born June 29, 1929 in Rolla, Missouri to Alva James and Birgie Smith. Her mother died three weeks later of appendicitis complications, so she and her sister Delma and brother Donald were raised by their maternal grandparents, Mama Laura and Papa Scott Mitchem of Belle, Missouri. When Mama Laura passed away, Norma went to live with her aunt and uncle, Hobart and Zelma Ross, of Akron, Iowa.



After she graduated from high school in Akron in 1947, Norma moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, and attended business college. She also worked at White’s Hall caring for orphaned children.



She was volunteering at the YWCA in Lincoln working in the kitchen when she met her future husband, Ralph Collins, a UNL business student. They were married on September 7, 1950 at the 14th and F Street Church of Christ in Lincoln.



Soon after they were wed, they moved to Abilene, Texas. Norma worked as a bookkeeper at a local department store while Ralph studied Bible at Abilene Christian College. After one year, they returned to Nebraska for the birth of their daughter, Birgie, in 1951.



Shortly after the birth of their son Roger in 1953, they bought their first and only home on 56th Street in the Benson area of Omaha. Norma lived in that home for 52 years, raising their children and offering hospitality to many who needed a place to stay or a helping hand. Several considered Ralph and Norma to be their second parents.



While Birgie and Roger were in grade school and high school, Norma worked for Kresge and the Medical Arts cafeteria. She loved playing baseball at church and work picnics. When Ralph became an elder at the North Omaha Church of Christ, she quit her job so that she could be a strong support for him in his duties.



Norma loved studying the Bible and church history. She was especially creative in teaching children’s Bible classes and she will be remembered by many, many children as the provider of their first children’s Bible. She often brought fruit to the children’s Bible classes to be sure that the kids had something to eat.



She was a constant encourager to her family and her church. She showed her love and support in many ways. Once, when the weather was especially bad, Norma walked two miles in the snow to help Roger with his paper route, so that one day he would win an Omaha World Herald college scholarship. When Birgie was in high school, Norma insisted that she learn bookkeeping. The principal balked, since Birgie was a college bound student. However, Norma knew that this practical knowledge would always be of use to her daughter. Above all, Norma taught her children and later, her grandchildren, and many other children the scriptures and a love for the Lord.





Christian education was very important to Ralph and Norma. Over the years, Norma volunteered for Helping Hands for York College and provided material gifts for the school and its students. They worked hard and sacrificed so that both of their children could attend York College. In 1995, York College named them Parents of the Year.



On March 1, 1988, Ralph retired from Kresge and Norma described this period of her life as her happiest years as they did nearly everything together. The couple volunteered in Omaha at the senior center regularly. They held Bible studies and discipled new Christians. They visited shut-ins and people in nursing homes. They traveled to visit family and long-time friends. They loved attending York College RoundUp, a golden-agers Bible camp, each year.



In 2002, Ralph passed away after a ten-year battle with lymphoma. In 2005, Norma moved to York, where she lived with Roger and his wife, Debbie, until his death in 2010. She then moved to Colorado to live with Birgie and her husband Scott.



In her later years, she especially loved to read her favorite passages from the Bible and sing hymns. Her greatest comfort and joy was in knowing her savior. Even in her final days at the Colorado Veteran’s Home, nurses and residents spoke highly of her smile and her sweet spirit.



She is preceded in death by her parents; sister Delma Smith; brother Donald Smith; husband Ralph Collins; and son Roger Collins.



She is remembered fondly by daughter Birgie (Scott) Niemann of New Castle, Colo.; daughter-in-law Debbie Collins of Edmond, Okla.; half-sisters Joan (Richard) Martin of West Des Moines, Iowa, and Jean (Fritz) Gaertner of Barrington, Ill.; sister-in-law Pauline Smith of Sioux City, Iowa, sister-in-law Eleanor Ammon, of Bassett, Neb.; sister-in-law Cleo Collins, of Boise, ID; grandchildren Stacy (Scott) McCall, Laura (Craig) Williamson, Jeremy (Hannah) Collins, Kristy (Alex) Autry, John Houston, Mark (Chrystal) Houston, Jennifer Niemann-Jacobs, and Jason (Faye) Niemann; 16 great grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.



Memorials may be sent to York College, 1125 E. 8th St, York, NE 68467.



VISITATION Sunday, June 15 from 2-5pm and FUNERAL SERVICE June 16 at 11am with all services at Westlawn Hillcrest Funeral Home.



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Omaha World-Herald
Collins, Norma June (Smith) Age 84 Norma peacefully met Jesus on May 19, 2014 in Rifle, CO. A 50+ year resident of Benson area in Omaha, she...

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