Obit: Colins, Sylvia R. (1914 - 2013)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Colins, Finster, Krause, Peterson, Bohlinger, Pecka, Marema, Anderson, Robbins, Meyer, Brunsma, Kunze, Rhyner, Rathke, Coppersmith

----Source: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark Co, WI) 7/10/2013

Colins, Sylvia R. (18 July 1914 - 8 July 2013)

Sylvia R. Colins, 98, passed away Monday, July 8, 2013. She had been a resident of Wausau for over 80 years.

Sylvia was born on the family farm in the Town of Reseburg, rural Thorp, on July 18, 1914, the daughter of the late Charles H. and Marie (Finster) Krause.

At age seven, Sylvia began her education at the Goff Country School, a one-room school. She was fascinated by a whole new world opening up for her. A new school was built the following year, providing two classrooms and two teachers. When graduation time came in May 1928, it presented a new challenge of getting to a high school five and a half miles from home and many were not able to attend.

Sylvia’s father being a resourceful man took her to the county seat, at Neillsville, where she applied for a driver’s permit and she was able to drive into Thorp each day for school. She always believed it was a privilege to attend high school and applied herself well to learning all she could. The depression years held many challenges and driving was not always possible due to snow-covered roads in winters and sinkholes in spring. Sylvia graduated from Thorp High School on June 1, 1932. The summer was filled with plans for her to enter the Wausau Business Institute in the stenographic course. Over the next few years, she took part-time temporary office jobs until one of her summer jobs turned into a full-time position as a switchboard operator with various other small jobs. During World War II, she worked for a foundry, which did subcontracting for large factories in Milwaukee.

Sylvia and Lawrence Colins, formerly of Chippewa Falls, were married on July 26, 1947. The next years were busy ones, having purchased the apartment house at 428 First Street, formerly the old Wausau Hospital, now consisting of ten apartments, and a home on Lakeview Drive, while both working at other jobs. In 1959, they built a house on 14th Avenue South. They lived there until 1970, when they build their retirement home on Evergreen Road to pursue Lawrence’s hobby of owning a riding horse, Chief. They spent many happy years there until Larry’s death in November 1986. Sylvia continued to care for Chief until he died one year later. Then it was time to move on.

Sylvia pursued a new life - that of volunteering. She volunteered for Log Jam, Mt. View Care Center, Mobile Meals, United Way, Festival of Trees, and at the Travel Center, in Rob Mountain. She arranged greeters at Sunday services for her church for 14 years. Health issues forced Sylvia to finally retire, but did not stop her interest in current affairs.

Sylvia is preceded in death by her husband, Lawrence; sister, Florence; and parents.

She is survived by 12 step-grandchildren: David (Yvonne) Peterson, James (Sandra) Peterson, Michael (Holly) Peterson, Karen Bohlinger, Racy (John) Pecka, Shari Marema, Betty Lou Colins, Jodene Anderson, Tina Marie Robbins, Lawrence J. (Lee Ann) Colins, Patricia Meyer, and Robert Brunsma.

Pallbearers will be step-grandsons: David, James, and Michael Peterson, Lawrence Colins, Michael Meyer and Robert Brunsma. Sylvia leaves many good friends and caregivers.

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 13, 2013 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Town of Easton, with Reverend Timothy Coppersmith officiating. Visitation will be held at the church, from 9 a.m. until the time of service. Interment will be in Pine Grove Cemetery, Wausau.

Memorials may be directed to St. John Care Ministry or the charity of your choice. You may sign our family guestbook at

A special thanks to Carol Kunze, Sue Meyer, Vicki Rhyner and Gloria Rathke for the care they provided Sylvia in her final years; and to the staff at Renaissance for their dedicated care.                 



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