SHANNON — A 77-year-old woman who died in a fire on her property located on Lewis Farm Road is being remembered as a pillar of that community who was well-loved and faithful to her church.
Betty Pearl Collins was burning yard debris about noon on Thursday when she fell and struck her head, according to her daughter Linda Collins, who believes her mother lost consciousness.
“My dad had made some flower beds with two-by-eights,” Linda said. “She might not could see in front of her from the smoke, tripped over them and fell.”
She was visited on Friday by relatives who shared stories and mourned their loss. Tears flowed.
It is believed that she died from inhaling smoke as the fire did not reach her.
“The flames never got to her, from what I know,” Linda said. “The smoke got her.”
There was no information on the incident from the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, which was closed on Friday because of the Easter holiday.
The house on the property was not damaged, but a barn in the back burned to the ground.
Linda Collins had a very close relationship with her mother; her death hasn’t hit her yet, she said.
“She was beautiful inside and out. She loved her kids, she would do anything for us,” Linda said.
“When I was in the hospital for a heart attack, who did I wake up to? My mom. If something happens to me, who will I wake up too?”
Joyce Chavis-Jiles, a cousin to Betty Collins, said she was a spiritual leader in the church and always expressed how much she appreciated God for allowing her to live another week to come to church.
Betty Collins’ home church was God’s Holy Assembly.
“She was a mother figure, in fact my husband called her mom-ma,” Chavis-Jiles said. “Everyone knows her.”
Shawn Collins was at a loss for words when asked about his grandmother.
“There are no words to express who she was,” he said. “She will be missed dearly.”
Terry Collins said he, too, has not come to grips with the death of his mother.
“They (family) were supposed to go Easter shopping today. I am used to her being around,” he said. “She got a big family, there are 16 of them (siblings).”
Betty Collins had two sons, two daughters and 11 grandchildren.
Terry’s wife June Collins said her mother-in-law was a giver.
“She was a church woman, she loved the Lord,” she said. “She loved to feel needed.”
She will be laid to rest Tuesday at James and Betty Cemetery in Shannon, beside her husband, James, who died Aug. 8, 2013.
“She never had plenty of money; she got joy out of helping people out,” Terry said. “I am going to miss her.”
Linda Collins said she is sad her mother is gone, but knows she is in Heaven.
“I am not worried about where she’s at. I know where she’s at,” she said. “I am just angry she left us.”
There will be a viewing at Boles Funeral Home in Red Springs, followed by funeral services at God’s Holy Assembly in Shannon on Monday.
Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected] or Facebook Annick MultiMedia Journalist.