On October 4, 2022 we lost our beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Eileen Alfrida Collins (O’Brien). She passed away peacefully at age 87 in Orange City, Florida after a long illness.
Eileen was born in Medford, Massachusetts, but also lived in Puerto Rico for a few years and Orlando, Florida for many more. Her early years inspired a love of cooking and discovering great foods from all cultures which she happily shared with family.
A lifelong adventurer, she faced new challenges with humor and optimism. She thought nothing of leaving the only home and people she had ever known to support her husband’s new career, thereby moving her family to a country far away and culture very different. She made great friends, honed new recipes, created art with seashells and thrived – while making sure all her family did too.
She enjoyed many traveling adventures with her close friends, always discovering and appreciating new lands and places. Once while visiting the most beautiful castle in Europe, she elected not to go inside. The formal gardens and birds beckoned her where she spent the day gloriously happy taking in the fragrances and views.
Her devotion to family was epic, finding ways to really connect and give us each individually what was most needed. She was very artistic and loved to create, paint, make ceramic treasures, sew, decorate, garden, bird-watch and so much more. But her greatest gift was gift-giving itself. She would somehow manage to find the perfect gifts for her 4 children, 8 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren through decades of loving and listening. Many gifts were handmade and personalized with her love. Indeed, the scrapbooks she made for her grandchildren stand out as family treasures for generations to come.
Eileen is survived by her children, Kathleen Pagan, Cynthia (Fred) Fallman, Charles (Patricia) Collins and Robert Collins. Her eight grandchildren are Megan (David) Mathews, Melissa (Jason) Oliver, Heather (Derek) Cobb, Samantha (Ben) Fowler, Buddy (Tennille) Collins, Scott (Caroline) Collins, Patrick (Mandy) Collins, Cody Collins. Her precious great-grandchildren are Avalynne, Ellie-anne, Callahan, Tennison Cobb; Liam and Finn Oliver; Declan and Clement Fowler; Charlie and Lossie Collins. She is predeceased by her brothers Robert O’Brien and William O’Brien.
The entire family will miss her wit, devotion, insights, and funny retorts. Throughout her life and recently through her failing health, we have all learned what perseverance and an indomitable spirit can inspire. A lesson none of us will ever forget.