Elspeth Mary (Brown) Collins
Elspeth Mary (Brown) Collins

Elspeth Mary (Brown) Collins, 85, died peacefully on June 6, 2023 at Serenity House in Santa Barbara after an unfortunate struggle with dementia.

She was born to David Marshall Brown and Patricia Philippa (Niven) Brown in a small hospital in Gourock, Scotland, on July 17, 1937 and raised nearby in the picturesque village of Kilmacolm.

After the war, she spent much of her time riding ponies around the beautiful Renfrewshire countryside.

She attended St. Columba’s School, then Seggieden House near Perth, St. Marie’s Boarding School in Dunblane, and Villa Sunnydale Toechter Institute in Adelboden Switzerland.

She continued her education studying Hotel Management at Ross Hall, the Scottish Hotel School in Glasgow, where she learned bookkeeping skills, providing her the opportunity to run off to Canada at the age of 21 and never look back.

Elspeth sailed alone on the Empress of England to Montreal, Canada, to meet her brother Ranald, who was living in Ottawa and helped her settle there.

She treasured her time working summers at Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta, and after a few years was ready for more adventure.

While in line to get a U.S. visa, she made friends with another woman and offered to drive her to her nursing job in Santa Barbara. After spending less than a week there, she was enchanted.

Elspeth tossed her plans to continue traveling on to New Zealand, found an apartment and a job, and stayed for more than 60 years.

In 1963, she met her husband Jack Collins and soon after got married, bought a house, gave birth to two children, and lived the suburban Santa Barbara dream until his passing in 2017.

Elspeth had continued her work as a bookkeeper for several employers in Santa Barbara including Kimo’s Polynesian Shop on State Street, but ultimately retired from her favorite position at UCSB’s student-run Daily Nexus Newspaper.

Elspeth enjoyed spending time with family and friends from near and far, including the many canine and feline family members (Heidi, Kirstie, Dixie, Bo, Agnes, Jenny, Rikki and Moki). She loved playing board games (perquacky, boggle … you name it, she played it), and was a take no prisoners ping-pong ace, routinely trouncing competitors on her home court with her unmatched angles and spin.

Elspeth is preceded in death by her husband Jack; her parents Marshall and Pat; and her brother Ranald Brown.

She will be dearly missed by her four children and their partners: John Collins (Angela Whiting) of Happy Valley; Jennifer Collins (Marc Shapiro) of Vancouver, Canada; Susan Locke (Don) of Glendale; Jeanette Onorati (Peter) of Sherman Oaks.

She was a proud Granny and will be fondly remembered by her seven grandsons and their partners: Donny (Kelsey), Douglas, Sonny (Tayla), Frankie (Kristen), Charlie (Sylvia), Sidney, and Solomon; and her great-grandson Gilbert.

She is also survived by her brother’s wife Mara Brown, in Smiths Falls, Ontario; and her nieces and nephew Sue (Dave), Vari (Richard), and Topher.

A casual celebration of life has been planned for 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8. If you are interested in attending, please email mizzzangela213@gmail.com for details by September 20.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the local chapter of The Alzheimer Foundation, https://alzfdn.org/.