Constance “Connie” Elaine Collins

April 16, 1937 - August 31, 2020

Constance “Connie” Elaine Collins passed away August 31 after a brief illness. Connie is survived by Morgan Collins, her husband of 61 years, her brother Grant Mapes, four loving children, Morgan (Shirley) Collins, Elaine (Steve) Heller, Leslie Padilla, and Megan (Brad Piers) Collins, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Connie was born April 16, 1937, the fourth of five children and only daughter, to Francis Henry and Mary Elizabeth Mapes (neé Kissinger) in Pontiac, Michigan. Connie earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Michigan State University. She married Morgan on September 17, 1959 and they welcomed their first child in 1961.

Connie began her 30+ year education career in Michigan. After piling their young family in a van for a summer searching the Western US for a new home, Connie and Morgan eventually settled their family in Port Angeles, WA. Connie worked as a counselor at Port Angeles High School from 1969-1976. In that role, she was proud of the work she did to advocate for and enforce Title IX protocols for women’s sports. In Port Angeles Connie expanded the family Thanksgiving celebrations by posting an open invitation to include anyone who did not have local family to join the potluck celebration… one year more than 40 people joined the family at the Dry Creek Grange to give thanks for the year’s bounty.

In 1976 Connie moved her family to the Yakima area and began working as a counselor at Wapato Middle School. Connie touched many young lives at WMS and always felt she had done her most consequential work there. She was particularly proud of her role co-founding the Wapato School District’s Cultural Unity Fair, a celebration of the diversity in the Yakima Valley.

Connie retired from the Wapato School District in 1992 and devoted herself to sharing her wisdom, insights, and personal stories with her family and friends. She was an artist who expressed herself through watercolor, play writing, storytelling, and sculpture. She had a beautiful voice and her whistle could call her kids home from blocks away. She enjoyed home design programs (she designed and built two homes), baseball and old Westerns.

She loved to laugh and dance. Connie lived fully, loved freely and was generous with her friendship. She took particular pleasure in the relationships she developed through the Yakima Bridge Club and was grateful to have had visits from her friends in the days before her passing.

In 2018 Connie traveled to Arizona and spent a week with her three sisters in law where they re-connected over new adventures and old stories.

The family would like to thank the employees of Good Samaritan for the exceptional care they provided.

Inspired by her mother to be the first in her family to graduate college, Connie understood the value of education. Remembrances in her name may be made to Heritage University in Toppenish.

A celebration of Connie’s life will be held post COVID. If you would like notice of the celebration, please send your contact information, to Fond memories and expressions of sympathy can be sent to the same address.