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Dr. Elsie Collins delivered dashing success with her life (L.A. PARKER COLUMN)

A familiar and popular memorial service theme involves Linda Ellis’ poem called The Dash.

The frequently quoted offering notes that while birth and death dates attract attention, “what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

“For that dash represents all the time that they spent on earth. And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.”

The dash for Dr. Elsie M. Collins (April 26,1922-July 17, 2023) filled with an abundance of accomplishments that her life seems almost fictional, a concoction of hopes and dreams.

Instead, Collins penned an unimaginable history of success, a life that will be recognized during a special event on Saturday, April 27 at Turning Point United Methodist Church located at 15 S.Broad St. Contact (609) 372-6601 for details. The 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. event offers a posthumous celebration of an amazing existence.

Collins, a 64-year resident of the Trenton-area, including Hamilton Twp., birthed 60 years after the Civil War in Durham, NC before she landed north to begin an education career that spanned 43 years.
Here’s what Dr. Collins achieved during her dash time.

In 1971, she became a professor at the College of New Jersey following her work as a classroom and demonstration teacher, program director, curriculum constructionist and administrator in several school and higher education systems in Delaware, New York, and New Jersey.

She received Professor Emeritus status by The College of New Jersey in 1995. During her professional career, she was the recipient of over thirty-five honor awards and plaques, indicative of her services to the communities she lived and served in.

Collins appears in several Who’s Who Publications including but not limited to Who’s Who Among Black Americans (1977-1978), Who’s Who of Women in Education, 1st Edition; International Who’s Who of Intellectuals, 2nd & 3rd Editions; Who’s Who in American Education, 1989-1990 and International Who’s Who of Professionals, 1996-1997.

Elsie was the published author of Blessed Are the Meek, the Humble and the Bold, 2010; Gentle People from a Not-So-Gentle Past, 2002 and Smalltown Strutters,1996.

Elsie held membership in the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority and actively participated in multiple organizations including, but not limited to the Community Educational Advisory Council (CEAC) – Organizer and Chairperson, Hamilton, NJ; NAACP; Urban League; National Alliance of Black Educators; National Council of the Social Studies; SAVE our Children Community Organization; National Education Association (NEA); Mercer County Education Association; New Jersey Association of College Faculties; American Teacher Association; National Association of Christian and Jews; St. Paul United Methodist Church (Choir member/soloist, Administrative Board, Council on Ministries, Chairperson of Missions); Laity Representative to Ministry Council for Southern Conference of the United Methodist Church of Trenton Ecumenical Area Ministry (TEAM); Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; United Negro College Fund; Southern Poverty Law Center; Board Consultant for Board of Directors, South Olden Apartments, Inc.; President – Board of Directors, East Trenton Day Care Center Council; Secretary, Board of Directors, East Trenton Day Care Center; Vice President, Board of Directors, Rescue Mission of Greater Trenton (integrated this board as first female and first minority member in 1980); Trustee/Board of Directors, John O. Wilson Neighborhood Service Center, Hamilton NJ; Board of Directors, Urban Mission Alliance; State of NJ Department of Education, Evaluating Team for Secondary Schools for the State of New Jersey. (Her assignment dealt with curriculum, instruction and instructors at Trenton Central High School, Trenton, NJ); Board of Directors, Young Scholars Institute; Board of Commissioners and The Heritage Center, Smithfield, NC.

Dr. Collins lived life as a devoted Christian and a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Trenton, N.J. While in North Carolina, she attended Centenary United Methodist Church in Smithfield. Collins sought diversity during her travels as she attended local church services – some of which were Baptist, Pentecostal, Episcopal and/or Catholic denominations. She faithfully read the bible, participated in choirs and on boards as well as led mission projects in Haiti, Africa, and the United States with the goal of spreading God’s word.

All are welcome to pay tribute honoring her legacy. Additionally, to continue her cherished memory, a “Dr. Elsie M. Collins Scholarship Fund” honors her legacy. To donate please visit her facebook page “Dr. Elsie M. Collins scholarship fund” or contact  her daughter Kimberly Myers via telephone (310) 844-2380 or email at msberly5

Contact her granddaughter, Melodie Hunter (702) 820-7383 or email: [email protected].

L.A. Parker is a Trentonian columnist. Find him on Twitter @LAParker6 or email him at [email protected].