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Evelyn F. “Boots” Collier, at the well-lived age of 97, went home to be with her heavenly Father and Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Friday, March 17, 2023. (For those with faith in Christ, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”)
She was the daughter of the late Clara C. and John A. Forster, wife of the late Stanley A Collier, sister of the late Kathryn (Dempsey) Harrison, John A. (Dolores) Forster, Jr. and Conrad C. (surviving Evelyn) Forster; precious mother of Beverly Collier; beloved aunt of Janice (late Jim) Reed, late Sharon Kay and “Corky” Harrison, and Diane (Gary) Stidle, Chuck Forster, Sandy Forster, the late Mark (Monika) Forster, and John (Donna) Forster. Also survived by many great-nieces and nephews, cousins, and extended family and friends, including her lifelong buddy Mary Jean (“Bunny” preceded the trio) and church pals Beverly and Chris.
Raised in Brookline, Boots graduated from South Hills High School and then spent most of her adult life in Ingram. She was a retiree of Bell Telephone/Verizon and very active in her church as a treasurer and with other duties. We laughed hysterically at her Telestrations game drawings and bemoaned her later-life incessant political TV watching. “Cousins Lunches” and Keenagers luncheons filled some Fridays in retirement, and she continued to use the computer to surf the Internet (sometimes leading to the ordering of questionable products and acquisition of viruses) and send emails until quite recently. She bowled until the age of 91 when she fell down the steps and broke both of her wrists, and enjoyed traveling in her last decades with Bev and, oftentimes, their friends Cathy and Connie, most recently just this past September to Ocean City, MD. Favorite trips included an Alaskan cruise; time in Branson, MO seeing shows and meeting her favorite comedian, Yakov Smirnoff; and a grand vacation in Great Britain and Ireland while attending her great-niece Lisa’s wedding at a castle in Scotland!
She was a confidant to many, cook, baker (her neighbors will miss her chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies!), banker (lent money to those in need), donor (to many charities), handywoman, seamstress, hotelier/landlord (housed someone for years), in-home caregiver to her father-in-law for a long time, helpmate to Bev, prayer warrior, tax preparer (her own and Bev’s), election worker, and on and on…
On the surface, Boots may have lived a “seemingly” unremarkable life filled with simple pleasures, but she had an understated and powerful ministry to all those she daily encountered. She modeled a lifestyle of selflessness and quiet faith exhibited through abiding humility and great kindness and generosity. She always thought of others before herself.
This world isn’t about our employment, the places we’ve been, or the activities we’ve pursued, but rather the lives we invest in and the glory we bring to God. As missionary C.T. Studd once wrote: “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” Boots touched many lives, both young and old, and totally changed the course of a few. She saw and encouraged the best in everyone, even when they couldn’t see it in themselves.
Despite some adversity in her life, Boots never responded in anger or allowed bitterness or unforgiveness to take root in her heart. And while her last three months were very difficult in many ways, she was greatly blessed to live almost her entire life free from physical pain or health issues. Many thanks go to her recent caregivers at the hospital, in rehab, and at home – especially her latest rehab roommate Janet, who acted as her advocate and overall guardian angel; her many visiting “eating coaches”; and her nephew John and his family who traveled up from North Carolina to stay with and help her in what unexpectedly was her last full week on earth.
Boots was ready and unafraid “to go,” and while those of us left behind will mourn this separation time immensely, “we do not mourn as those without hope,” knowing we can be reunited with her later. Her living and dying fervent prayer for all she knew was that they would “believe on the name of Jesus and be saved”—and that she would see everyone again in heaven. May she see you there!
Jesus said…, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,”
Interment for Evelyn was held privately. A Memorial Service, followed by a dinner, will be held on Saturday, September 16, 2023 at 3:30 p.m., at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 55 Forsythe Road, Pgh., PA 15220. Arrangements are entrusted to ANTHONY G. STAAB FUNERAL HOME, INC., 900 Chartiers Ave., Pgh, PA 15220.
If desired, memorial contributions can be made to St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 55 Forsythe Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15220.
St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church
55 Forsythe Road, Pittsburgh PA 15220