Kathryn Peter Collins, 75, a native of Worcester and longtime resident of Oak Bluffs, died this past Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, at home, leaving behind many friends and family who will miss her forever.
She was born on Dec. 4, 1947, in Worcester, to Peter and Helen (Gusha) Valentzas. Peter predeceased her in 2012, and Helen, 103, currently resides at Windemere in Oak Bluffs.
She was known as Kathy by her large, extended, mainly Greek-American family, most of whom still reside in Worcester. She was lucky enough to grow up summering on Martha’s Vineyard, in Oak Bluffs on Pennacook, with her family. You could find her either at the Near Beach (Oak Bluffs Town Beach) or the Faraway Beach (State Beach), just about every day. She fondly remembered afternoons in town, going to Walmsley’s Bakery and Darling’s popcorn store. In the later years, you could find her at the Seaview, Lou’s Worry, Boston House, or the Ritz. She and her cousins still got together often every summer, recalling their memorable experiences throughout the years.
She was known as Kate to her friends, and maintained wonderful friendships with people from “the old days,” notably those she worked with at the New England Electric System in Westboro during the 1960s and ’70s, at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester in the 1980s, and more recently, as a licensed respiratory therapist at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, beginning in 1992. She also enjoyed close bonds with her neighbors, her daughter’s friends, and those she worked with on various town committees and offices.
She was known as Mom to her daughter Eleni Roriz, also of Oak Bluffs, who was lucky enough to see her most days, whether it was for errands to the Post Office or Cronig’s, or something fun such as a Land Bank trail walk, or simply going out to lunch. Regardless of the activity, she always made things more fun for everyone, and her company will be greatly missed. She especially loved being a mother-in-law, and her bond with Eleni’s husband, Johnny Roriz, was ever so strong. Whether they were enjoying a glass of wine, talking politics, or giving constructive criticism to those around them, their banter will be missed.
Perhaps the title she was fondest of was Yia Yia. She was most happy when she was with her grandchildren, John Peter and Eva Eden. They sure kept her busy, vibrant, and young. You could find Yia Yia at the library or game room with Johnny, strolling Eva around the Tabernacle, or in the backyard playing with both. Her yard was a place of joy and happiness. She loved to feed the birds, mow the lawn, and keep the grounds ever-so-tidy. She also loved to cook and bake, which she was beginning to pass on to Johnny. Sleepovers or afternoons at Yia Yia’s often resulted in a few dozen thumb cookies or scones.
She was a lover of fun, music — especially Elton John, Jackson Browne, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, and so much more — and impromptu gatherings at her house. She was a born entertainer, and could put together an array of snacks in an instant. She loved hanging out and being with family and friends. If she wasn’t with Eleni and her family, you could probably find her next door, hanging out with her brother, George Valentzas, whom she loved dearly. She would often deliver him dinner, or just go sit in the yard and have a beer with him, listen to music, and talk about the old days.
Her other closest pal was her cousin Paul Thoutsis, also of Oak Bluffs. When they got together, it was the perfect mix of fun and trouble. Their connection was strong, and their love of a good time contagious, resulting in many laughs and memories.
She recently reconnected, via Facebook, with classmates from her early childhood at Woodland Street School and Woodland Prep, both in Worcester. She went to high school at South High for two years, then continued at North High. She fondly reminisced about her school days. After a brief move to California, she attended Newbury College here in Boston.
She was passionate about traveling abroad, and regarded herself fortunate enough to have visited Greece, Italy, England, and Brazil, to name a few of her favorites. Her trips to Tortola with friends from the M.V. Hospital were also at the top of her list.
But she really was happiest at home, waving to friends who drove by, filling the birdbaths, and reading in her porch room. Her absence leaves a huge void in those who loved her.
Please join her family for a celebration of life this Sunday, Sept. 24, from 12 to 3 pm at the Sailing Camp Park in Oak Bluffs.