Claudia “Dean” Collins, age 75, was known by many different names including Mom, Grammy, Deanie Bug, Sister Dean, Momma Dean, as well as just Dean to her friends. When her sweet spirit left this earth on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, she was surrounded by her loving family. The room was filled with laughter as her sister and brother recalled how “Deanie-bug” spent her first paycheck on treats for her younger siblings- “The whole herd of them”. Her daughters on earth were there to send her off to her daughters already waiting to welcome her home in Heaven.
Dean was born on October 9, 1947, in Chattanooga Tennessee, to David and Rachel Blanks.
She graduated from Wayne Memorial High School and went on to work as a secretary for The Wayne Eagle as well as a real estate agency. On April 8, 1967, she married Floyd Collins. Together they raised their six children, Claudia, Amy, Charity, Faith, Stephen, and Amanda.
Dean enjoyed taking care of her house at 26505 Monticello, in Inkster, Michigan, where she became a homemaker who dedicated her life to caring for her children. She became a legend for her cleanliness, cooking, and most of all, nurturing children and helping the elders in her family and community.
Not only is she known for cultivating flower gardens, but she also planted spiritual ones as well. While serving in the children’s ministry at the Garden City Church of God for over 20 years, Sister Dean was not only known for her soft-baked pretzels but for teaching every child that God loved them and created them with unique gifts to fulfill his purpose in the world. When her husband was away hunting or working, her house was filled with the laughter of children including her nieces, nephews, and kids from the neighborhood who enjoyed her homemade chocolate gravy and biscuits. She enjoyed watching the kids sliding down the stairs on mattresses and her floors being covered with blankets, pillows, and kids. Over the years, she became known as a spiritual pillar to the young people she mentored. Throughout her life, Dean always shared Jesus and His word with everyone she came in contact with. Her greatest desire was to see her children and grandchildren have a personal relationship with God.
After many years in the big city, Dean packed up the house she raised her children in and followed her husband, Floyd, who wanted to retire, to northern Michigan. Together they built a log home in Topinabee. It was the house of Floyd’s dreams. Faithfully, Dean cared for her husband until his death in 2003. The “Log House” became a place where her grandchildren loved to visit. She became known as Grammy. Once again, she turned her home into a place where children felt safe and could pretend and see the world through a magical lens. Not only was her house filled with the aroma of homemade chocolate chip cookies, but scary stories of Goblin Lane and the Tickle Monster. Laughter rang out as her kids and grandkids competed in rubber bands and Nerf wars or crazy dance parties. Many afternoons were spent picking apples in the field to be used in Grammy’s famous apple pies. A day was not complete without driving the golf cart down Goblin Lane at dusk. Spending time with her grandchildren and watching them grow was one of the happiest times of her life.
Even when Dean moved to her new house on Will Drive, she created a home where everyone felt welcomed and loved. Some of her favorite memories included walking to the nearby park with her grandchildren, strolling the pier at DeVoe Beach to watch the sunset over the water, and then ending the day with a hot fudge sundae at Drost’s Chocolates. No matter where Dean lived, her house was filled with her family, and the sound of children’s laughter. After all, her most cherished times were the times with her grandchildren. No one loved being a Grammy more.
She is survived by her children, Charity (Kevin) Wright, Faith Collins, Stephen (Loralee) Collins, and Amanda (Zach) Skiera; grandchildren, Zachary Clough, Victoria Collins, Blythe Wright, Connor Collins, Matt Skiera, Nick Clough, Ethan Collins, Mackenzie Clough, Ben Wright, Becky Skiera and Nate Skiera; sisters, Glenda Mason and Charlotte Haynes, and brothers, Troit and Earl Blanks.
Dean was preceded in death by her parents, David and Rachel Blanks; her husband, Floyd Collins; daughters, Amy Collins and Claudia Clough; great-granddaughter, Beatrice Culp; sisters, Diane Szmutko and Chris Payne; and brother, Kenny Blanks.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. at the Gaylord E-Free Church with visitation beginning at 12:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the E-Free Children Ministry, online at https://miefree.org/give/.
Arrangements were entrusted to Nelson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, P.O. Box 1548, Gaylord, MI 49734.
4 comments on “Claudia D. Collins”
Prayers are with you all during your loss. May your heart be filled with smiles when you think of your mom. She always made us and the kids feel so welcome at Church. She was such a kind lady always having a smile to share.
Carla and Doug Miller and Samantha, Ben, Liz Hansen
Thinking of the family at this time my daughter Sarah Masters and I are saddened and sending condolences. Claudia was a wonderful person and will be missed
Dean was a big hearted woman, full of joy and purpose, lavishly obedient to our Lord Jesus, in being fruitful, multiplying, and in going and making disciples. A life well lived! Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS 😅
My deepest condolences to Dean’s family. She was such a lovely woman filled with faith, dedication, and resolve. She left a positive mark everywhere and uplifted people.