Official Obituary of

Shirley Collins

September 5, 1937 ~ February 28, 2024 (age 86) 86 Years Old
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Shirley Collins Obituary

Shirley A. (Porter) Collins, 86, of Hurricane, WV, died on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, of Alzheimer’s disease at the Putnam Center, where she was surrounded with love by her family. She received excellent care from Hospice, Putnam Center, and English Meadows. During her final days, the nurses and staff from both facilities stopped by to pay their respects and share the various ways Shirley had spread kindness and joy in her quiet, pleasant way.

She was born at home on Sycamore Creek in Putnam County, West Virginia, on September 15, 1937, to the late John F. and Lorna M. (Sergent Billups) Porter. Shirley graduated in 1955 from Hurricane High School. It was there she met the love of her life, James “Jay” H. Collins – she, the homecoming queen and he, a football standout. The pair were steadfast friends with their classmates throughout the years.  They were married in 1957 and remained sweethearts until his death in 2005. She traveled with Jay and their children across the sea and to multiple assignments during his twenty-year career in the Air Force. At every post, any time Shirley saw a car with WV license plates in a parking lot or a person wearing a WV sweatshirt in the grocery store, she would ask them what county they were from, give them her phone number, and invite them to dinner. In each place she moved, one of her first orders of business was to find a new church home. From organizing dinners for loved ones after funerals to teaching thousands of children in Sunday school over the years, along with leading Cub Scouts and church Women’s Groups, she showed her faith through service. In churches across the USA, she served as a Deacon, Trustee, and Queen of the Kitchen.

At their final (and favorite) assignment, Plattsburgh Air Force Base, New York, Shirley began her work as a teacher’s aide with children in the Beekmantown School District. She learned to sight-read Braille in order to help one of her students. The friendships she made at the First Baptist Church there lasted a lifetime. After Jay’s retirement from the Air Force, they relocated to Mt. Laurel, NJ, and then to Estero, FL. However, they always considered West Virginia home, so after Jay’s passing, Shirley returned, living in Culloden for over a decade. She was a very active member of the First Baptist Church of Hurricane before Alzheimer’s narrowed her world.

Shirley is survived by her three children, their spouses, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren: daughter, Marjorie Light and husband James, of West Hartford, CT; son, Mark Collins and wife, Tricia, of Foster City, CA; and son, Matthew Collins and wife Lori, of Madeira Beach, FL. Her grandchildren, who called her Miya, loved her greatly: Stephanie Light, Craig Light, Alyssa Collins, Ryan Collins, Stephen Auer, and Katie Collins. She is also survived by two great-grandchildren, Milo and Nora Eames. A special friend, Arden Hodges; her brother, Dwane Porter; and brother-in-law George McGehee, also survive her passing, along with many cousins, nieces, nephews, extended friends, and family. She was predeceased by her parents, sisters, and their husbands: Wanda and Carl Johnson and Hilda and Cebert Riddle; along with in-laws Howard and Maxine Collins; sister-in-laws Judith and husband James Qualls; and Linda McGehee. To Shirley, family was the center of her life.

A memorial service celebrating Shirley’s life will be held at the First Baptist Church of Hurricane on Saturday, March 2, 2024, at 11:00 am. The family will have visitation at the church beginning at 10:00 am, prior to the service. At a future date, Shirley’s cremated remains will be interred with those of her husband, Jay. Memorial donations may be made to the First Baptist Church Building Fund, 2635 Main Street, Hurricane, WV, 25526 or HospiceCare of WV online or via mail at 1606 Kanawha Blvd W., Charleston, WV 25387.

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March 2, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Hurricane First Baptist Church

Memorial Service
March 2, 2024

11:00 AM
First Baptist Church Of Hurricane
Main Street
Hurricane, WV 25526


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