On February 8, 1960, our beloved Clarissa Collins was born in Albany, New York, to proud parents, Marguerite Moore Collins and Morris Collins, Jr.
Raised and educated in Albany, Clarissa attended Saint Joseph’s Academy and Bishop Maginn High School of Albany, New York. Clarissa enjoyed sports and played basketball in High School. Her Father, Morris, was one of 20 siblings, and Clarissa, with her sisters Sabrina and Eva, traveled often with their parents during summer months, visiting grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins around the country. After graduating from high school, Clarissa joined the United States Army where she was trained in nursing and served as a medic. Clarissa served on military bases in El Paso, Texas, Fort Benning, Ga and Huntsville, Alabama, serving alongside both friends and relatives.
During her years of military service, Clarissa served bravely in Germany, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. During Operation Desert Storm, Clarissa wrote to her paternal grandmother, Ceola Collins, that the daily letters from her mother, Marguerite, helped her through the arduous military service. Like most soldiers, Clarissa wrote about the heat, the rainstorms, the ubiquitous sand, the daily horrors of war and how much she missed her family. In her letters, Clarissa described a life during which she looked forward only to mail, showers and going home. Clarissa attributed her survival to the prayers of her mother, Marguerite, and Grandmother Ceola. Clarissa was the first woman in the Collins Family to have served in the United States Military, and her survival, her lengthy service, and her achievements are a valiant tribute to her family and her country.
Clarissa received an Honorable Discharge from the United States Army in 1992 and attended Hudson Valley Community College SUNY, where she earned her Nursing Degree and became a Registered Nurse. Clarissa held nursing licenses in three states, Connecticut, Virginia and New York State. Over the years, Clarissa lived in Hartford, CT, Alexandria, VA, and Upper Marlboro, MD, before returning home to live in Albany. She also worked as a traveling nurse. Clarissa retired in 2007.
Clarissa LOVED her family. She also loved traveling and spending time with her family, especially the Annual Collins Family Reunions. Her favorite travel destinations included Saint Thomas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Las Vegas, San Diego, Myrtle Beach, Chicago, and Denver.
Our Clarissa had a wonderful sense of humor. She enjoyed studying African American history and sharing stories. With the true heart and soul of a nurse, her spirit made her a joy to be around. She IS truly unforgettable.
Clarissa gained her wings October 7, 2020, when she transitioned surrounded by family at home. She leaves to cherish her memory her devoted Mother Marguerite
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