The Ottumwa Courier


September 13, 2012

Nellie Collins, 99, Albia

ALBIA — Nellie D. Collins, 99, of Albia, who was very much looking forward to celebrating her 100th birthday in March, died on Sept. 11, 2012, at the Monroe County Hospital and Clinics in Albia.  

She was born March 23, 1913, in Ottumwa, to Phillip Arthur “Pop” and Ethel (Harden) McSparen at St. Joseph Hospital. Nellie married Charles Hill Cashwell and resided in Montgomery, Ala. They had one daughter, Donna Jo’an. They later divorced. She then moved back to Iowa, where she met and married Jay A. Collins. They had a daughter, Peggy Diane.

Nellie absolutely loved to work and hardly ever took time to sit down. She worked at several places throughout her 99 years. She worked at Turnstyle in Davenport, the Iowa Ordinance Plant in Burlington during the Vietnam War, the Firestone Store in Albia, Reed Construction Co. in the Ottumwa office and Chamberlain’s manufacturing in Albia until it closed. She also helped her friend, Viola, with custodial duties at the REC in Albia. In her later life, Nellie was always ready to greet customers every Thursday morning for more than 20 years at Duea Motor Company in Albia with coffee, donuts and conversation. Nellie enjoyed selling tickets for the Iowa High School Rodeo and the Grandstand Entertainment at the Monroe County Fair. All of her “jobs” were really just opportunities for her to interact with people, which was one of her greatest pleasures in life. Nellie loved all of her family and friends dearly and enjoyed spending time with them or simply chatting with them on the phone. She was always thrilled to see all of her generations of grandchildren. One of her greatest delights was entertaining friends and family in her home. She knew how to throw a party. Nellie was a regular on the bus trips to Branson, and always received birthday and Christmas cards from Branson entertainers that called her “Grandma.” She made everyone feel like family and never knew a stranger. Nellie was a longtime member of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Albia, where she spent many years singing hymns in the choir. She had a great love of music including old dance tunes and country. That love of music always led her to the dance floor. Nellie would dance every dance. It also kept her coming back to the Albia Restoration Days Follies year after year, where she treated the whole family and lots of friends to front row seats. Those who knew Nellie well knew that she enjoyed doing what others would consider work, ironing clothes and washing windows.

Nellie is survived by her daughters, Jo’an Reed of Albia and Peggy (Richard) Love of Grand Rapids, Mich.; six grandchildren, Jack (Linda) Reed and Rob (Kathy) Reed, both of Ottumwa, Debi Reed and Robin (Jan) Haselhuhn, both of Albia, David Love of Chicago, Ill., and Julie Love of Grand Rapids, Mich.; 10 great-grandchildren, Scott Reed of Port Byron, Ill., Angela Grimes of Chicago, Ill., Bobbi Jo Reed of Panora, Ryan (Ashley) Reed of Ottumwa, Tyler Reed of Davenport, Lyndon Haselhuhn of Des Moines, Caleb Haselhuhn and Allyson Haselhuhn of Albia and Joshua and Ethan Robbins of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and six great-great-grandchildren, Tanner, Colby and Brady Reed of Port Byron, Ill., and Layla, Lincoln and Landon Reed of Ottumwa.

Nellie was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Jay Collins; a sister, Juanita Jameson; a son-in-law, Bob D. Reed; and a great-grandson, Jay Allen Reed.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Trinity United Methodist Church in Albia; with Rev. Neil Montz officiating. Burial will be in Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Ottumwa.

Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. today at Tharp Funeral Home in Albia with the family present throughout the day.  

Memorials have been established to Trinity United Methodist Church and Monroe County Health Care Foundation.

Condolences may be left for the family at

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