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Joan Collins, whose career as a nurse inspired her family, dies at 86

Joan Collins, who worked as a nurse at

Joan Collins, who worked as a nurse at Coney Island Hospital and Nassau Hospital, died August 26 at Clifton Springs Hospital in upstate New York. Credit: Handout

Joan Collins, who worked as a nurse at Coney Island Hospital and Nassau Hospital, died Aug. 26 at Clifton Springs Hospital in upstate New York. She was 86.

The cause was kidney failure, said a daughter, Maureen Moses of Marine Park, Brooklyn.

Collins, of Elmont, began as a surgical nurse at Coney Island in the early 1950s and later worked as a psychiatric nurse at Nassau Hospital, now called Winthrop-University Hospital.

The job was a calling as much as a career, Moses said.

"It was an ever-present part of her life," she said, recalling her mother's response to accidents down the block and urgent phone calls from neighbors asking for advice. "Once you're a nurse, you're always a nurse."

Collins was the daughter of a nursing assistant; three of her children became nurses and another became an emergency medical technician and fire chief.

"I am the nurse I am because of her," said daughter Regina Collins of Lexington, Kentucky, who said she learned one of the most basic commandments of the profession from watching her mother work: "Respect patients."

Joan Dolores Kidd was born May 23, 1929, in Brooklyn to the former Mary Grace DeFraytas, who worked at Victory Memorial Hospital in Bay Ridge, and Charles W. Kidd, head of security at St. Mary's Hospital in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

She attended St. Francis Academy for Young Ladies in Park Slope and St. Catherine's School of Nursing in Greenpoint, graduating in 1950.

She married Francis X. Collins, a Con Edison engineer, in 1951. The two had seven children, living first in Canarsie and later in Elmont in a house that previously had been the rectory for St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.

Collins was deeply involved with that church, using her nursing skills in the parish outreach service, singing in the choir and serving as a eucharistic minister. She taught Communion class for more than 20 years and also was a Girl Scout troop leader.

Other survivors include her brother, Jack Kidd of Sayville; daughters Kathleen Manez of Bomoseen, Vermont, Maria Collins Barbaro of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Barbara Zweigle of upstate Macedon; and sons Michael Collins of Bow, Washington, and Stephen Collins of Bellingham, Washington. Collins was the mother-in-law of former Newsday reporter Paul Moses.

A wake was held Sunday at Krauss Funeral Home in Franklin Square, and a funeral Mass was celebrated Monday at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Elmont.

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