Jane Collier

Born: Wed., Sep. 3, 1919
Died: Tue., Nov. 29, 2011

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Jane Collier was one of those people who helped that "greatest generation" earn its title. The difficult times she grew up in made her strong, but not hard. Jane was the eldest of three daughters of a candymaker and his wife, born in 1919 in Rock Island, Illinois, a town as tough as its name. During the deep depression of the 1930s, her father lost his factory job and started a candy making business in the house in Davenport, Iowa, where the family had moved. Despite the long hours she worked in the family business, Jane nurtured a life long love of learning, and managed to graduate at the top of her large high school class. She also became a splendid candymaker. For the rest of her life, her famous peanut brittle was much anticipated by her friends and family at holidays. In Davenport, she also found the love of her life, Alvin Collier. Jane and Alvin married in 1940. The two of them set off on a journey that was equal parts hard work and adventure. On the night they were married, they boarded a Greyhound bus bound for Seattle. There they caught a ferry to Anchorage, Alaska, then a frontier town of 2, 000. Jane kept house in a wall tent for the first winter, before she and Alvin moved to a homestead in the Matanuska Valley. There, they lived through many joys and hardships together. Suffice it to say that wolves, moose, and clearing land by hand feature prominently in that part of Jane's life story. So do her children, Sharon, Gary, Tom, and Keith, all born there, and whom Jane fearlessly protected from all manner of peril. Perhaps the Alaska homestead life became too routine, because after 13 years, Jane and Alvin moved to Idaho, where they operated a combination sporting goods/grocery store and gas station. After five years they concluded that their children needed a more challenging upbringing, and moved to a farm in Iowa, hauling everything they had, including a parakeet and a canary across the Rockies in the middle of winter blizzards in a one-ton truck. Hogs, cows, and hard work played major parts in this period of Jane's life. So did a longing for the splendor and space of the West. So after seven years of farming, Jane and Alvin repeated the adventure in reverse, again crossing the Rockies during winter blizzards in the same one-ton truck. Jane and her family moved to Pendleton, where she and Alvin had purchased a hardware store. Jane thought this city, and her beloved Presbyterian Church were simply the best in the world, and from here she would never again be moved. From 1966 until her death after a short illness on November 29, 2011, she traveled extensively-with Alvin until his death in 1987 and alone or with friends and family after that-but she wouldn't think of living anywhere else again. Jane was always curious about the world. She read avidly, worked tirelessly in her church, and tried her best to combat the greed, poverty, ignorance, and injustice that so greatly offended her. She loved and supported theater, arts, and music, and was always puzzled by those who do not. Jane attended virtually every play, concert, or exhibition offered in Pendleton, and often spoke with pride of the extraordinary talents of the area's residents. Jane is survived by her sister, Ruth, her daughter, Sharon, of Alma, Arkansas, her son Tom and his wife Linda of Halfway, Oregon; her son Keith and his wife Rochelle, of Portland, Oregon, and by beloved grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. The tragedies in her life included the untimely death of her son, Gary, in an airplane crash in 1996. Jane's family is grateful for her life--for her bountiful love, for her courage and determination, and for the wisdom she generously shared. They miss her terribly. A service to celebrate Jane's life will be held at the Pendleton Presbyterian Church at 11:00 A.M. December 5, 2011. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 201 SW Dorion Ave., Pendleton, OR 97801 or to a charity of your choice. Send Condolences at www.burnsmortuary.com Burns Mortuary of Pendleton is handling arrangements.

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Arlen & Inga Trygstad
   Posted Fri December 02, 2011
Jane was such a wonderful lady, we have such great memories of her and loved her visits to South Dakota, so glad we were able to visit her last year! Love you, Tom & Linda!

Lela Garton
   Posted Fri December 02, 2011
JANE was one of my very very favorite people. I learned a lot from her comments on life and about candy making and picking up hazel nuts. In November I read... 'Kneeling in Jerusalem' a book she game me. She loved you all so much. You had a wonderful mother.

Susan Hilliard
   Posted Sun December 04, 2011
Jane will always hold a place in our hearts. We will miss her gentle and caring nature. She always had a kind word for us and asked about our family. The Hilliard Family Tom, Susan, Matthew, Evan

Legaya Bernabe
   Posted Mon December 05, 2011
Jane was a kind and caring person. She enjoyed having her bible study groups and sharing God love with others. She encouraged me with the different events that I had to offer and was always willing to lend and hand whenevery needed. I thank her and her family for allowing me to be part of her life. She will be missed.

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