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Ella Lee Collins

Memorial for Ella Lee Collins

Born in Creedmoor, Texas on Oct. 11, 1918
Departed on Nov. 2, 2014 and resided in Austin, TX.
Visitation: Friday, Nov. 7, 2014
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Service: Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014
10:00 am
Cemetery: Assumption Cemetery
Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.

On October 11, 1918 in Creedmoor, Texas, Maggie (Jackson) Myers and Grant Myers, Sr. welcomed their newborn baby girl, and named her Ella Lee Myers. She joined her fourteen siblings consisting of seven sisters and seven brothers. She became the fifteenth and final member of the family.

As a young girl, Ella enjoyed school, horseback riding, cooking and baking. She was a good student, and her favorite school subjects were history and home economics. Math was also one of her strengths. At a very young age she became an accomplished cook and baker. She was also known for her quick wit, intellect and style.

In 1940 she married Talferd Gabriel Collins, and they began on a journey that would be filled with many rewards and accomplishments. They began with a vision and very little money. They lived and farmed land Talferd was already leasing from his aunts. Through good business management and working together, they purchased their home and land they were leasing, and paid for it in two short years. Over the years they purchased additional parcels of land from other relatives of Talferd and neighbors to enlarge their farm to the large farm it is today. They were both hard working, smart, excellent planners, visionary, and willing to make personal sacrifices in order to reach their goals. Ella managed the day-to-day operations, and kept the accounting records (without the aid of a calculator). Talferd maintained outside employment at Bergstrom Air Force Base, road construction, and law enforcement. He retired from law enforcement after many years of service at the age of 73. In 1951 The Talferd Collins Family Farm demonstrated innovative soil-conservation techniques as an LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) "Example Farm." They were the first African-American family to participate in the program. In 2002, The Talferd and Ella Collins Farm was awarded the "Texas Land Heritage Award" by the Texas Department of Agriculture for over 100 years of continuous ownership and operation as a family agricultural enterprise. The legacy of land ownership began in 1872 when Newton Isaac Collins, Sr., Talferd's great grandfather, purchased 92 ½ acres in East Austin. In 1891 Newton Isaac Collins, Sr. traded the improved 92 ½ acres of improved land in East Austin for 506 acres of unimproved land in Pilot Knob (location of current farm). The Collins family legacy of land ownership and involvement in agriculture was continued by several family members including Dee Gabriel Collins, Walter Gabriel Collins, Talferd Gabriel Collins, and later by three sons Talferd and Ella Collins through cattle ranching.

Family was always of primary importance to Ella and Talferd. They began their family right away, and over the years their family grew to include five daughters and six sons. They devoted their lives to their children. Their family values included education, religion, integrity, work ethics, self-sufficiency, fiscal responsibility, and pride in self and family. They led by example. Everyone was expected to have meals together, and the television nor radio were a part of mealtime. Sunday church attendance was a requirement. They expected all their children to complete undergraduate studies. All of their children attended college, and eight earned undergraduate degrees, three earned advanced degrees including one Dr. of Chiropractic.

In addition to fulfilling her responsibilities to her family and the farm, Ella made time to volunteer in the community. She was always active in school activities, and served in several capacities on the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) Board; participated in bake sales for school and church events; served as a Nurse's Aide in the Del Valle I.S.D. and the Travis County Jail; Girl Scouts of America; 4H Club; County Extension Program; Home Demonstration Program and Church Bazaars. She was recognized as "Mother of the Year" by Holy Cross Catholic Church. She was a devout Catholic and member of Holy Cross Catholic Church for most of her adult life. She was active as a Eucharistic Minister, a charter member of KPC (Knights of Peter Claver) Ladies Auxiliary, KPC Ladies of Grace 4th Degree and 3rd Degree, and the Widows Ministry.

Ella was cared for by her daughter Ella Elizabeth Collins in her home in Missouri City, Texas where she transitioned peacefully. She is preceded in death by her parents Grant and Maggie Myers, her loving husband of fifty-seven years, Talferd Gabriel Collins, in 1997, her fourteen siblings, one son, Talferd Myers Collins, and four grandsons. She is survived by five daughters: Alice Lawson (Charles, deceased) of Washington, D.C., Elizabeth Collins of Missouri City, Texas, Phyllis Jefferson (Antwine) of Niwot, Colorado, Jeanie Carr (Robert) of Washington, D.C., Cecelia James (Bill) of Davie, Florida; and five sons: Silas Collins of Waller County, Texas, Ernest Collins (Floretta) of Spring, Texas, Ronald Collins (Carolyn) of Austin, Texas, Edwin Collins of Miami, Florida, and Lambert Collins (Lorrie) of Katy, Texas, and 26 grandchildren, 34 Great grandchildren, 5 great-great Grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Because of her strong belief in God and devotion to family, church and community, her legacy will live on through the many lives she touched.

Services entrusted to A Life Celebration by Franklin, Taylor, Texas

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