June 22, 1924 – Oct. 5, 2017
Janet G. Collins, a homemaker and dedicated volunteer, died Thursday in Northgate Health Care Facility, Wheatfield, where she had lived since 2013, following a lengthy illness. She was 93.
The former Janet Katharine Gibbons was born in Buffalo and grew up on Linwood Avenue. She graduated from St. Mary's Seminary in Buffalo and earned a degree in home economics from State Teachers College, now SUNY Buffalo State.
She married George W. Collins in 1948, after meeting him after World War II while both worked at JAFCO Marine.
Mrs. Collins was a homemaker who raised her family in Snyder and Eggertsville. The family overcame a disastrous house fire in 1958 in which her husband rescued their then 3-year-old son, Billy.
Two years later, a four-alarm fire destroyed Collins Marine. George Collins rebuilt the business while Mrs. Collins tended to five children, all under age of 11, with a sixth following a few years after that. Mrs. Collins took great pride in seeing all of her children graduate from college and go on to successful careers.
She volunteered extensively with St. Joseph Collegiate Institute, Nichols School, Bristol Home, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the American Cancer Society. She was a former member of the Garret Club.
Mrs. Collins took up tennis relatively late in life and became an enthusiastic and skilled player, playing in Buffalo and at the Plantation Country Club in Venice, Fla.
She read whatever she could get her hands on – books, magazines and newspapers.
"She was the life of any party she attended. She had a razor sharp and quick wit and was an astute observer, well read and had a voracious appetite for current events," said one of her sons, William II.
Mrs. Collins never lived down an appearance on the NBC game show "Split Personality," hosted by Tom Poston, in 1960, when she got stage fright and couldn't think straight.
Mrs. Collins's husband died in 2001, just before their 53rd wedding anniversary. She continued to live in her Amherst home until 2013, when she moved to the Amberleigh independent living complex in Amherst and then, later that year, to Northgate.
In addition to William, survivors include three other sons, George Jr., Richard and Raymond; two daughters, Cynthia and Janet Collins Jordan; 15 grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in St. Gregory the Great Church, 200 St. Gregory Court, Amherst.