Clara Virginia Collins
September 26, 1907 – July 15, 1999
Marital Status: Never Married
Place of Birth: Marshall County, Tennessee
Parents: Tilden Lafayette Collins and Laura Endsley Collins
Admitted to The West End Home For Ladies June 25, 1985
Resided in The West End Home For Ladies at 2818 Vanderbilt Place
Siblings: Hardison Collins of Nashville, Tennessee, Robert Lee Collins of Winchester, Tennessee, and L.T. Collins
Stepmother: Ruth Haislip Holly Collins
Niece: Kay Handly
Miss Collins was the oldest of four siblings. Their mother passed away nine days after the birth of her fourth child and the baby died three months later. Eight-year-old Virginia suddenly became the lady of the house and did her very best to meet the family’s needs for the next three years. In 1917, her father married Mrs. Ruth Haislip Holly, a widow with two children, and she became a true mother to the children asking them to call her Mammy. Before agreeing to marry Mr. Collins, she exacted a promise from him that he would take the children to church every Sunday. He did his best to fulfill this promise, but the children wanted to go with Mammy to her church. Their parents agreed and they joined her Methodist Church. Mr. Collins died in 1920 and Ruth was unable to run the farm. She sold it and kept the children’s money until each reached the age of eighteen.
Miss Virginia used her share of the proceeds of the sale of the farm to earn a business degree. She was employed by the Nashville Electric Company for thirty-five years as a cashier. She made a home for Mammy and herself and loved and cared for her until Mammy’s death in 1958.
Miss Collins was a member of Tulip Street Methodist Church for many years, but later transferred her membership to Belmont Methodist Church. She enjoyed working with children.
Excerpts from letters written by Miss Collins to her niece, between May 27, 1986 and November 23, 1987
“I wouldn’t take anything for having the feeling of security here for the rest of my life. I could not want for anything more.”
“I’m sure you’re ready for a big Thanksgiving Holiday. I know you are going to have so much fun. I have been invited out for dinner, but I have decided I had rather have my Thanksgiving dinner here, we always have such a nice day here.”
“We really had a big party on the 4th of July. You have never seen so many good and beautiful munchies as we enjoyed, and everything was decorated so beautiful. Then a delicious lunch; I was so full I just had to come to my apartment and go to bed. That night we had a get-together on our floor to look at t.v. and eat popcorn. We have a twenty-five inch t.v. on every floor. I’m so happy to be able to live in such a great place the rest of my life with everything that I would ever need. Such loving people in the kitchen and infirmary and maids keeping everything so polished all the time.”