- Amber Ellen Collins
Amber Ellen Collins, née Shay, died recently at her home in Burlington. She will be greatly missed by the many who were fortunate enough to have known her.
Amber was born in 1946 in Plattsburgh, N.Y., to William and Norma Shay of Keeseville, N.Y. She is survived by her daughter, Marina Collins, and her two children, Steven Ushakov and Kristina Ushakova; and by her son, Seamus Collins, and his wife, Dana Sehovic, and their children Desmond and Nyla Collins; her sister, Maureen Morrow, and husband Wayne and niece Heather Fowler and her husband Joe of Keeseville, N.Y.; and several cousins. Amber was extremely fortunate to have been surrounded by many longtime friends, including but certainly not limited to Patrick Brown, Toni Taginski and Mike Shultz. Amber was widowed in 2006 after 37 years of marriage to Peter Rose Collins.
Amber was the quintessential upstate New Yorker/Vermonter — resilient, resourceful, relentless and reliable. She was also bright, tough, progressive, funny and always capable of being just as flinty as necessary when advocating for her kids or anything else important to her. With Amber it was pretty simple — what you saw was what you got, and what she saw was what she believed.
Amber worked at the Fletcher Free Library for 46 years before finally retiring as the codirector in 2012. Following her retirement, Amber’s primary focus and love were her grandkids. She took great pride in watching them play hockey in rinks throughout New England and great delight in taking every chance she got to spoil them otherwise (much to the chagrin of her own kids). Beyond that, Amber stayed busy updating her home, painting, traveling, hosting dinners and holidays for loved ones, exploring her family heritage, and fighting Parkinson’s disease.
Amber also loved to garden, read, collect antiques, crush the New York Times Sunday crossword and travel to Hawaii every chance she got. Right up until the very end of her life, she stayed active and was doing what she could to give back. In fact, the week that she died she was busy taking family out to dinner to try a new local restaurant, raising money for various charities and planning a public exhibit of her artwork. Her exhibit can be seen during the month of March at Wally’s Place in South Hero.
It was her wish that she be cremated, with her ashes buried with her husband in Lakeview Cemetery in Burlington and with other members of her family in Ausable Forks, N.Y.
Amber will be remembered by family and friends at the Elks Club on North Avenue in Burlington on Saturday, March 16, from 1 to 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, her family asks that donations be made in her name to either the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research or the Burlington Youth Hockey Association.