Mary Frances (Donoghue) Collins

August 29, 1945 ~ March 7, 2020 (age 74)


Mary Frances (Donoghue) Collins

South Burlington - Mary Frances (Donoghue) Collins, 74, passed away surrounded by family on March 7, 2020 at the McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester after a four-month battle with cancer.

Mary Frances was born Aug. 29, 1945 in Springfield, Mass., the daughter of John D. and Rosemary (Lynch) Donoghue, and the family moved to Vermont the following year.

While at Rice Memorial High School, Mary Frances met the love of her life, John M. Collins of South Burlington. She attended Trinity College in Burlington and ultimately graduated from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. In October 1966, she married John who made her laugh every day and moved with him to Rochester, NY where they lived and raised a family for 40 years.

Mary Frances was the Assistant Director of Friends of Strong Memorial Hospital at the University of Rochester and became known for her listening ear and kind heart. She raised three children and her home was always filled with music, books, and hippie politics. She found great joy in hosting parties and organizing charitable events.

Her passion, in addition to her family, was music, both performing and enjoying it with others. Folk, Bob Dylan, and traditional Irish music were a constant presence in her life. In college, she performed to raise money for voter registration drives and tutorial programs in Selma, AL and Elizabeth City, NC.

In 1980, Mary Frances became a member of a recovery community that would sustain her and bring her great joy. She was a consistent and loving member for the remainder of her life and was known to many in the rooms for her willingness and wisdom.

For several years she was "Presente!" at Fort Benning, GA at the annual gathering to close the School of the Americas along with her husband and dear friends, Mary and Dennis McGuire. In retirement, she and John loved traveling and spent time driving across the US, and seeing Europe, China, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.

Inspired by being in New York City on September 11th, she and John returned to their beloved Green Mountains of Vermont. They were members of Vermont National Country Club. Mary Frances spent her time playing bridge and solving all of the worlds' problems over Diet Cokes with friends. In recent years, she owned Documents by Donoghue, a free-lance proofreading service. She spent the winter months in Delray Beach, FL where she and John played tennis and golf, enjoyed plenty of ice cream, and where she was a member of the Poinciana Garden Club.

Mary Frances used her gifts of wisdom, compassion, storytelling and humor as she volunteered at Pathways Vermont, Dismas House, Hope Lodge, Turning Point Center of Burlington, as a Mercy Associate, and the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington. She served on the Board of SSTA in Chittenden County.

Reading, traveling, tennis, golf, bridge and yoga were her delights and she always had a willing ear and an open door for all. Ever the host, Mary Frances was generous with her time and belongings, opening her home for people to stay with her for as long as they needed.

She leaves two daughters, Amy Collins and her husband Tim Clark of Rochester, NY, Maura Collins and her husband Michael Versluys of Essex Junction, and a son John R. Collins and his wife Amy (Daudelin) Collins of South Burlington. Additionally, she was "Onnie" to her beloved grandchildren Liam and Maeve Collins of South Burlington and Capella, Beckett, and Fiona Versluys of Essex Junction. They will miss her deep talks and how she slipped $2 bills into greeting cards for every holiday imaginable.

She leaves a brother, Michael (Ann Marie) Donoghue of South Burlington, and a host of much-loved in-laws, Martha Donoghue of Colchester, Christine (Bill) Hannaford of Winchester, VA, Maureen Henry of Delray, FL and North Hero, and Jim and Pat Collins of Shelburne. She also leaves many beloved nieces and nephews.

Mary Frances was predeceased in 2015 by her husband of 49 years, John Collins, as well as her parents, John and Rosemary Donoghue, her brothers John W. and James D. Donoghue, her father's second wife Faith (Durbrow) Donoghue, and brother-in-law John Henry.

A special thank you to Doctors Diane Hakey, Joseph Messina, Zail Berry and to Carole McCay, RN for their compassion and guidance.

Her many friends will remember her gentle caring and her passion. Please enjoy a moment of joyful silence for her life and pass on her quiet good works anonymously to someone. In honor of her memory, please mend a broken relationship or write a note of gratitude to someone who may not know how much they have meant to you.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be sent to Pathways Vermont, 125 College St., Burlington, Vt. 05401. Mary Frances' deepest wish was for a just and peaceful world.

Interment will be private at a later date at Merrill's Cemetery in Colchester.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Frances (Donoghue) Collins, please visit our floral store.


Services are cancelled will be held at another date

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