This obituary originally appeared on O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home.

Carolyn Ellen Collins, 64 of Tiverton, RI passed away Monday, June 29, 2020. Born in Newport, she entered this world on July 1st, 1955, daughter of the late Mary E. (Kirby) Collins and Joseph P. Collins.

Carolyn, later in life known as “just plain Carol” (as she preferred to be called “Carol”). was a native Newporter, and like every native Newporter she would be the first to let you know!     Carol attended St. Mary’s School and two years of St. Catherine’s Academy before it closed in 1971.  She graduated from Rogers High School in 1973.  From there Carol attended the former Newport School for Cosmetology and became a licensed hairdresser.  She was an avid league bowler for a time playing for teams at the old Aquidneck Lanes.  She worked at Newport Hospital in various capacities.  When her job function was transferred to Providence, she was issued her “bridge visa” and made her way to the “big city.”  Carol worked in the Accounts Payable Office at Lifespan up until 3 years ago.

A lover of all animals, you name it – she had to have it.  As young children she (and her sister Mary) were the turtle queens of the Levin St. neighborhood.  Each had their own box turtles (really tortoises) which they would periodically race on the porch and then watch them climb the screen door.  As an adult she adopted a large box turtle from a co-worker.  The box turtle was carried into work in a photocopy paper box, so Carol naturally named it “Xerox.”  (What else would you name a turtle in a photocopy paper box?)  She loved hamsters, hedgehogs, fish, birds (including cockatiels, parrots, parakeets, and canaries), and cats, but her greatest animal loves were her dogs.  She had several over her lifetime, her current one is her beloved Charma. 

Though the family always had a dog Carol as a young teen always wanted to have one of her own, and when the last “family dog”, Lucky, passed on just after her starting high school, Carol wanted to get her own dog.  But there was a problem.  Our parents were opposed to getting another dog, but Carol was persistent, very persistent.  Although she was not old enough to work legally, but she did strike up a deal with the people running the Potter League shelter.  The Potter League at the time was located at the base of Harrington St. a hop, skip, & a jump from Dean Ave. where we lived at the time.  Carol offered to work at the shelter, not for money, but instead for a dog she had fallen in love with, a proverbial “Heinz 57” that was dominantly German Shepard but expressed a good deal of antelope genes.  Carol worked the better part of that summer to earn that dog.  She learned the value of hard work and helped her friends at the same time.  Carol volunteered for a great organization, and the shelter knew the dog was going to a loving home where it would be loved – a win – win. 

Chelsea, as was the dog’s name (or as Carol named her), was a bit neurotic, but an otherwise happy-go-lucky dog who not only had a hollow leg when it came to food, but we found quite by accident she could catch a side-arm fast ball going away!  Chelsea also liked to make a “break for freedom” from time to time.  Our mother was usually the one who volunteered to be dispatched to retrieve the dog.  Chelsea liked freedom, and Mom just never seemed to figure out that when you chase after the dog, she will think you are playing and continue to run, and this dog liked to play!  After three or four round-trips to Sig’s Variety Mom finally figured out that if she just dropped to her knees the dog would come to her.  Carol in her own inimitable way would thank Mom, and then hug the dog saying (as though addressing a toddler) “Such a good girl!”.

Carol loved her various pets as though they were her children.  Later in life Carol continued to have her pets of choice, each with their distinctive personalities molded in part by Carol, whose personality often empathically expressed the mood or health status of her pets.  In many senses of the word Carol’s pets were her life.  Todd, Rob, Maddy, and Logan were all introduced to, and became accustomed to Carol’s various pets, and learned to love them as she did.

She is survived by her sister and brothers; Mary E. Anthony (Robert), William K. Collins (Darlene) and Robert J. Collins. Her niece and nephews, Crystal Collins, Todd Collins and Rob Anthony, grandniece and grandnephew, Maddy and Logan Collins – were like grandchildren to her, she loved them dearly.  Her cousins Michael Sullivan, Patrick Sullivan, Dennis Sullivan, Tom Sullivan, Mary Cudworth, Susan (Cudworth) Isacco, Ronald Cudworth, Michael Cudworth, Scott Cudworth, her god-niece Dawn Benard, and relatives in PA and TX.

Due to the current circumstances, burial will be private, and a celebration of Carol’s life will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations in Carol’s memory be made to the Potter League for Animals, PO Box 412, Newport, RI 02840.