Norma Jean Crute Collins, of Monticello, passed away Friday, April 23 in the comfort of her home with her three sons at her side.
She leaves behind her sons, Leighton Collins (Mona) of Bullhead, Arizona, Burton Collins (Margaret) of Franklin, Tennessee and Lawrence Collins (Karen) of Park Ridge Illinois; her five grandchildren, Christopher Collins (Jamee Collins), Madison Collins, Jessica Muscarello (Kevin Muscarello), Erika Collins, and Kevin Lawrence Collins. Great Grandchildren, Nick Esterguard, Caley Collins, Drew Collins, Kingston Collins, and Maddox Collins.
She was preceded in death by her parents Luna Belle and Hulbert Crute of Monticello.
In 1969 Norma Jean founded and directed South Suburban Youth Hotline in Park Forest, Illinois. Through the years she helped thousand of youths recover from problems including drug addiction, parental abuse, rape, bullying, attempted suicide just to name a few. She trained a staff of volunteers to lend a caring ear to those in need of someone to talk to, someone to listen, someone to help; Someone Cares, was her motto. Under her directions Hotline’s crisis intervention services helped many young people reach their full potential. In 2004 she was honored for her volunteer work with an induction into the Park Forest Hall of Fame.
Norma Jean grew up in Wilmar. As a child she would entertain at social gatherings, singing and dancing as Lil Miss Norma Jean. She moved to Monticello as a young teen where she had several jobs, ranging from working as an assistant mechanic in her dad’s service station, in sales at his appliance store and as a medical assistant at the local doctor’s office.
In 1950, she married George Collins of Fordyce and they had three sons Leighton Pierce Collins, Burton Banks Collins, and Lawrence Holmes Collins. After raising her boys in Chicago she returned to Monticello to take care of her ailing parents. After this part of her life, her years were filled with fun and adventure such as visiting her grandchildren, often attending weddings and witnessing new births. She even took time out to executive produce The LA Drama Crtique’s award winning play, Chapter Two. Her interest in the entertainment industry led to her to an appointment as Director for the Arkansas State Film Commission.
She was profound, she was strong, she fought bravely for what she believed in. She loved her family with a passion and if she ever met anyone without a smile, she gave them one of hers.
A graveside service for Mrs. Collins will be held Tuesday, April 27, at 4 p.m. at Oakland Cemetery in Monticello.