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COLLIS, Barbara Jean

COLLIS, Barbara Jean[1]

Female 1930 - 2009  (78 years)

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  • Name COLLIS, Barbara Jean 
    Born 20 Nov 1930  Stockton, San Joaquin, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 26 Jun 2009  Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I21  Parker/Collis Genealogy
    Last Modified 31 May 2012 

    Father COLLIS, Ernest Russell,   b. 31 Dec 1896, Brentwood, Contra Costa, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Jun 1976, Sacramento, Sacramento, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Mother SHERMAN, Bertha Irene,   b. 2 Mar 1903, Kalispell, Flathead, Montana, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Jun 1970, Traverse City, Grand Traverse, Michigan, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years) 
    Married 14 Oct 1923  Spokane, Spokane, Washington, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Living 
    Children 
    +1. Living
    +2. Living
    +3. Living
    +4. Living
    Family ID F15  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Barbara Collis 1949.jpg
    Barbara Collis 1949.jpg

  • Notes 
    • California Birth Index, 1905-1995 Record
      Name: Barbara Jean Collis
      Birth Date: 20 Nov 1930
      Gender: Female
      Mother's Maiden Name: Sherman
      Birth County: San Joaquin

      Barbara Jean Collis was the third child born to Russell and Bertha Collis. She was born November 20, 1930. Her parents were living in Brentwood at the time but went to Dammeron Hospital in Stockton for Barbara's birth. Perhaps Russell was influenced by his cousin, Langley Collis, who was a doctor in Stockton, and Stockton is only about 30 miles from Brentwood along the Sacramento River. They were listed in the California Voter Registration in 1926-28 in Stockton, 5th Ward, 8th Precinct at Horace Ave and Anderson. Russell is listed as a bench hand Russell had worked there before as a pipe fitter and was familiar with the area. The night was so foggy that Bertha had to lean her head out of the car window and tell Russell which way to turn. Bertha couldn't decide between the name of Betty and Barbara (after Betty Davis and Barbara Stanwyck). She decided on Barbara. However, the recorder must have become tired of waiting because it was discovered later when Barbara was 14 and tried to get her work permit, that the birth certificate gave the name as Betty. It was officially changed back to Barbara.

      In 1932, when Barbara was eighteen months old, her family moved to the state of Washington to a little town named Thera. Bertha's parents lived close by in Diamond. The family moved into an old converted grain warehouse where Russell became manager and was responsible for loading the sacks of wheat onto the elevator that took them up into the waiting boxcars. Russell would often let the children hitch a ride on top of the sacks of wheat as they ascended up to the boxcars. Barbara remembers rollerskating the length of that warehouse. This was an especially useful vehicle when needing to use the bathroom at the far end of the warehouse. For her 4th birthday her mother bought a doll and tied a string to it. Her mother gave Barbara the other end of the string. She had to follow that string which wandered back and forth through the warehouse, until she came to the doll.

      Barbara remembers that sometime during her childhood, that she could not sleep on her left side or the pigs would bite her ears. Why? She's not sure.

      Her mother told the story of the gypsies that traveled through the area. They tried to buy Barbara. Thank goodness the folks weren't that desperate for money. There is also the story that someone gave her the runt lamb of the flock., which she cared for and loved.

      Barbara started the first grade in Endicott, near Thera. They lived in Thera about five years then moved to Colfax, Washington, where she finished first grade and continued through 5th grade. Barbara walked with her brother, Roy, and sister, Laura, about 3 miles down the road to school in Colfax. Sometimes unbeknownst to their mother, they walked the shortcut over the railroad trestle. When Barbara asked Roy what they would do if a train came, He replied, "We would drop down and hang below by our hands". Scary thought! After the first year a bus picked them up. When it snowed, Mom would have to go push them up the hill to the road where the bus was waiting. Barbara spent most of her young years on the farm in Colfax, then moved to Sacramento when she was 10 years old.

      One day on her way to Rancho Market Barbara found $50 in the empty lot. Mom had always instilled in her children complete honesty and the idea to never keep anything that didn't belong to them. Barbara took the money to the Market and told them where she had found it. Later a sailor claimed it. It was his mustering out pay. He was so relieved to get it back, he gave her a $5 reward. That was a lot of money to a young kid at that time. and $50 was a lot of money to an adult.

      As a teenager Barbara was active in the youth group of the Nazarene church. She attended a church youth camp by Santa Cruz when she was about 16. During her high school years, she had the responsibility to care for her younger brother and two sisters after school as her mother was working. She never minded that responsibility as it just seemed her contribution as a family member. She worked at the Carnation Ice Cream Company restaurant on Stockton Boulevard, just up the street from our home. She told me a story about one time when she was waitressing and cooking. A man came in and ordered his meal. When he finished eating, she asked him what he would like for dessert. He said, "you". She said she wasn't dessert, she was the main course. He laughed and left her a $5 tip. Who but Barb could think that fast.

      She graduated from Sacramento High School in 1948. Barbara worked for the Federal Veteran's Administration for a year after graduation from High School. She then attended Sacramento Jr. College, graduating with a AA degree in Social Science. After graduation she worked for the California Highway Patrol coding accident reports.

      Barbara met Tom Alexander in March 1951 on a blind date. He came to Sacramento with her girlfriend's boyfriend. They went to the boy's house and he asked if he could mix her a drink. When she said, "No. Thank you," he said, "the only other thing we have is milk." She replied that she would have a glass of milk. They then went on a beerbust on the banks of the Sacramento river under a bridge.Tom was an eighteen year old sailor in the U S Navy.. The others at the party seemed to disperse here and there, so Barb and Tom lay on a blanket under the railroad trestle and talked. Tom was a complete gentleman. He did not make any passes and this appealed to Barbara. They courted through the mail as Tom was sent to sea near Japan and Korea shortly after they met. They married in March 1952. Right after the wedding, Tom was shipped over seas and Barbara worked and lived with her parents. Her mother didn't know that Tom was Catholic and was disappointed to find that out. It's hard to figure this out, since Mom at one time had attended Catholic school. Bertha loved Tom, however, and had a good relationship with him throughout the years.

      When Tom's ship sailed back to California, Barbara went to Berkeley to meet him in November of 1952. Barbara was about 8 1/2 months pregnant. They drove back to Barbara's sister's house, (Laura and Charlie Just), and then Barbara's water broke. They had to turn around and go back to Oaknoll Hospital in Oakland, where their first child, Karen, was born. They found an army barrack at Mare Island to live and stayed there for 3 months while the ship was in dry dock. They then lived in government housing in Berkeley for a while. Tom was shipped out so Barbara and the baby returned to Sacramento where Barbara lived in a cement block house with Laura and Charlie.

      When Tom's ship came back into port, They moved into a beautiful stately old home in Alameda with Laura and Charlie. The home had been made into 2 apartments. Charlie was attending Law School at UC Berkeley. During the daytime, Barb would stay home with Karen and the two Just children, Charlie attended law school, Laura would go to work at the Bank, and Tom would usually be at sea. Laura worked at the bank. At night time Barbara would go to work, Chrlie would go to work, Laura would stay home with the children, and if Tom was not at sea, he would also be at home. The downstairs neighbors had difficulty keeping track of who was married to whom.

      Tom was soon transferred to Hawaii, so Barb and Tom then moved to Hawaii there. Hawaii was an expensive place to live and Barbara was pregnant with Kathy most of the time they were there. Hawaii is not a fun place to live while pregnant and poor. It seemed that whenever she hung the wash on the line to dry, it would rain. After rushing out to take it down a few times, Barbara learned to just leave it there to dry eventually. Their second child, Kathleen, was born in September of 1954 in Hawaii.

      When Tom got out of the navy, they lived for a time in Sacramento on 24th Street and then moved to Phoenix where Tom was raised because his father was sick. Linda, their third child was born there in December of 1955. They bought a house and then rented it out and moved back to Sacramento because Barbara was homesick and Tom was frustrated with his job. Karen attended first grade at a Catholic school on Y Street. They lived in Sacramento 6 months before moving to Milpitis because they had friends there who thought they could help Tom find a job that he would be happy in. They could not qualify financially for housing and so lived with their friends, Gene and Bernita, for 6 months. Tom worked for the city of Milpitis water department. Barbara babysat in exchange for rent.

      Tom's dad developed a heart condition and because Tom was an only child and felt he needed to be support for his mother, they moved back to Phoenix into the house they owned at 8121 North 29th Drive. In 1955 Barbara worked at Goodyear Aerospace as a "girl Friday" for 28 engineers. She answered phones, typed, and filed. The company made blimps and componants for airplanes. She worked days for about nine months but with Tom working nights, it made life difficult, so she quit. She only made $50 per week and paid her babysitter $25 per week. Figure the math.

      Michael Thomas, "Tommy", was born in Phoenix at Phoenix General Hospital in August 1960. Dr. Hatch was Barbara's doctor, but he didn't make it to the delivery. Dr. Hatch was a cowboy and Tom painted a picture of his two horses to pay the doctor bill.

      Barbara was a stay at home mom until Tommy went to school then went to work for GE in 1967. Honeywell bought out GE and Barbara worked as an insurance adjuster with Honeywell information Systems in Phoenix until she retired in June of 1986.

      In early 2005 Barbara and Tom were both diagnosed with aortic aneurisms. Tom's was in the groin area had his repaired with surgery in February. Barbara's was a little more complicated as she had a weak heart and they discovered the lump in her neck was a tangle of veins, which may have been congenital from birth. As more tests were performed, the doctor decided the risk of surgery to correct the aneurism was too great because is was too close to the back. He wanted Barbara to have a consultation with a specialist in Houston, Texas. Barbara did not want to go nor have the surgery, but her children wanted her to go to see what the specialist had to say. The specialist wanted more tests done and during a heart catheterization Barbara had a TIA ( a small stroke). She has recovered from the TIA very well, but they found that her left carotid artery is 50% blocked. She has a weak heart that is pumping only 35% of the blood that it should. She and Tom agreed to go hear what the Texas specialist had to say and went at the end of November. He said he can not operate as the risk is too great because her heart is weak and there is a great chance she could have a stroke or heart attack during surgery. Her heart seems to have gotten stronger and she will have another test to check it. She does not want to take the chance in having the surgery and says she is feeling good and can do most everything that she wants to do. (1 Dec 2005)

      Nov 2005
      Dear Brothers and Sisters....This is to inform you that Barb underwent a heart catheterizaton test last Thur the 24th at the test request of the med staff in Houston, the experts in this field, who wanted a look at her heart/aorta from the inside. Turns out Barb experienced a mini-stroke after the procedure and had to spend 4 days in the hospital. She has shed all stroke symptoms and is feeling better every day now, but has little energy. Presently, we anticipate going to Houston around mid NOV for consultation with Dr. Coselli, the leading expert in surgical procedures involving the aorta. Surgeons here will not touch the descending aorta where it is involved with the spine, hence, Houston comes into play as they have the trained and experienced teams and facilities readily available. Our kids want Barb to have the consultation with Coselli, with which we agree, then will decide where we go from there. We've already heard from a few of the local sawbones' and look fwd to hearing from the horse himself....Y'all take care....Tom

      (Barbara has an annuerism on her Aorta and an enlarged heart with some valve problems. She gets out of breath easily but seems to be doing all right. The doctors will not do surgery as her heart is not strong enough and the risk is too great. As of Nov 2006 the problem has not gotten worse and the valves seem to have improved.

      28 JUL 2k5 Dear Marilyn & Ron....We just got back from the frozen north country and have finally warmed up a bit. 'Twas nice seeing the family in Puget Sound, SLO, Roseville and Cool. All seems well so far even tho Laura is still struggling, she does seem to be coping OK. The rest o' the mob is still the same and were glad of that. Also glad to hear things are going well on your mssion. Very nice that your weather is cooperating at this point and we wish you a successful completion and safe return home. Angus Augustus Menish, the boy angel, was perfect except that his internal organs were all jammed in his chest allowing no room for his lungs to expand. His situation was too severe for the med team at U of Washington to handle. He was taken off life support a day and half after birth permitting his reentry into heaven, his mission on earth accomplished. He came at a time of serious family strife and estrangement and the discovery of his affliction, while still in the womb, brought Linda's little family back together again, as it should be. He came. He did his job. He went back. And he went back with a load of earthly love from all his family. Linda is prepping a garden in her back yard in his memory and Barb and I bought a cherub statue for the garden. His parents will decide on his ashes in the future. We know you will be anxious to get home, but if you can swing it, be sure to drop in on us Desert Rats for a little visit. 'Twould be fun, again....Love....Barb 'n' Tom

      Barbara died on Friday, 26 June 2009. Even though we knew it a very real possibility with her many health problems, it still comes as a shock. She had been having a nagging pain in her back and Tom had questioned her thouroughly to see if she was all right. She did not want to go to the doctor and said she would be fine. Tom was gone to pick up some printing from the printers just a short time. When he returned home, he found her on the floor by his chair seemingly reaching for the phone. He was devastated that he was not there with her. Perhaps she picked her time. She seemed to have been preparing in retrospect. She had spent a most satisfying day with her family on Mother's Day. On Thursday, the day before she died, she called me (Marilyn) and we had a nice long talk. She asked me if I knew what glass eggs were. I told her all I could think of was the Ukranian painted eggs. She said she thought she should call and share this with me. When she was young, Mom would soft boil eggs, break them in a glass, (we supposed she didn't have any small bowls), add lemon juice and salt and pepper. They would then dip their toast in the egg. I remember the soft boiled egg with lemon juice but not in a glass. Perhaps by then Mom had small bowls. I still love them that way. Barbara wanted me to know that information. Looking back on our conversation, it seems a little ironic. She then called Darlyne and they had a nice talk.There were many little things that seemed to indicate her preparation. Basically, though, she had been preparing since the day she found out the dire circumstances of her health. She accepted it and lived every day the best she could. She didn't have a lot of strength and endurance, so she would clean a little and then rest a little. She was happy. She loved the way Tom took care of her. He would hold her hand when she walked anywhere to make sure she wouldn't fall. She and Tom gave each other a meaningful hug and kiss each morning; grateful for each day they could spend together. She was happy and upbeat her whole life.

      The day before Barbara died, she told Tom that she had called each one of her sisters and daughters. I'm sure she knew that her time was close. She had had a pain behind her shoulder blade for the last week. It was getting stronger. Tom was concerned and asked her several time if she would go see the doctor. She insisted that she would not go to the doctor. They both knew the inevitable, that the annuerism in her aorta could give out at any time. Tom went to pick up some flyers from the printer and said he would only be gone for half an hour. When he returned home, he found her on her knees by his chair reaching for the phone. Although he knew it was in vain, he started CPR. That only pumped more blood out. The paramedics came and continued the CPR for a short time. The autopsy showed it was indeed the aortic annuerism that had given out. Barbara was 78 years old

  • Sources 
    1. [S45] California Birth Index.