Leila Collins, 83, the beautiful matriarch of our family, passed away in Abilene on October 27, 2021, into the loving arms of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Leila was born in Selma, AL on October 8, 1938, and was raised on her grandparent’s dairy farm, outside of Greensboro, AL where she had many fond memories with her family and Compton cousins. She moved to Baird, TX her junior year and graduated valedictorian of Baird High School in 1957.
Leila attended Hardin Simmons University and the Mary Meeks School of Nursing, where she graduated top of her class and received a diploma as a Registered Nurse. While in nursing school, it was at Hendricks Medical Center where she met her beloved husband Dave, who ran the laboratory at night. They used to go on dates at the Town & Country and Mrs. Doyle’s Cafes and enjoy Jeff Davis pie and coffee. Dave and Leila were married on June 14, 1959.
After nursing school, she then went to work for Hendricks Medical Center where she helped establish the first ICU in Abilene. She taught at the LVN program – in fact, she taught her own mother. Leila then became the second Director of Nursing at the new West Texas Medical Center in Abilene. After her husband, Dave, became administrator of the hospital, Leila went to work for doctors Roy Willingham and David Halbert. A year later, she went to work for Abilene ISD as a school nurse where she spent the rest of her career. She loved working with all of the teachers and students at Jefferson Junior High and Crockett Elementary along with several other elementary schools. After retirement, she continued to keep up with continuing education to maintain her RN status.
Leila is survived by her husband, David Martin Collins, and two children: Kari McCoy & husband Aaron of Dallas, and David Collins Jr. & wife Sissy of Cisco. She had five beautiful grandchildren: Rustin & Garett Collins, both of Weatherford; Madeline McAlister, of San Antonio; Lily & Claire McCoy, both of Dallas. She is also survived by her sister, Stella Griggs Dunlap of Abilene. Leila was preceded in death by her parents Sara and William Berry (Dub) Griggs and her brother-in-law, Billy Boyd Dunlap.
Anyone that has ever known Leila would tell you that she exemplified kindness and joy. She wanted to know everything about you and loved to tell stories from her remarkable childhood. She loved her Compton cousins and her annual trip to Alabama was always the highlight of her year. She loved her church, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) and gospel music. She, Dave, Stella, and Bill traveled across Texas, several times a year, to see the Gaither’s and other gospel bands. Of all of these loves, none of them could match the love she had for her grandchildren as their precious Mimi. She spoiled them rotten. When her granddaughter, Claire, was born with Cerebral Palsy, Leila spent the better part of a year in Houston helping her daughter. She was selfless in every way and such an amazing comforter.
We will miss our sweet wife, mom, Mimi, Compton cousin and dear friend, but we are at peace because we know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that we will see her again in heaven. We have this blessed assurance because Leila loved the Lord with all her might and gave her heart to Jesus many years ago.
Memorials may be sent to Wylie United Methodist Church, 3430 Antilley Road, Abilene TX 79606 or https://pushpay.com/g/wyliemethodist (in memory of Leila Collins). Visitation will be at Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Rd, on Friday, November 5th, from 5-7pm. The service will be Saturday, November 6th, from 10-12pm at Wylie United Methodist Church.
The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals at Hendricks Medical Center South for taking such great care of Leila during a very difficult time.