Janice Marie Collins, an art teacher at the Springs School for many years, died on July 24 at the Kanas Center for Hospice Care in Quiogue. She was 79 and had cancer.
“A proud member of the Skidi Band of the Pawnee Nation,” according to her family, in 1965 Mrs. Collins was the Pawnee Veterans homecoming princess and the Tulsa Lakeview Powwow Princess, and in 1973 the New York City American Indian Queen. She was also a model twice for the Museum of the American Indian on “The Dick Cavett Show.”
Each year at the Springs School, her family said, “she would give her classes a demonstration and explanation of tribal regalia, giving the students of Springs a firsthand look at traditional tribal dress of the Pawnee.”
Her artistic abilities were expressed through pottery, needlepoint, paintings, and other mediums.
For many years she was a regular at the Fisherman’s Fair in Springs, running the children’s section and later doing fish prints. She enjoyed seeing many of her former students and meeting their children.
Mrs. Collins, who was known as Jan, was born at Fort Apache in White River, Ariz., on Nov. 3, 1943, to Clarence Sanders and the former Roberta Maytubby. Her family moved from Pawnee, Ariz., to Bartlesville, Okla., and in 1962 she graduated from College High there before going on to study fine arts at Oklahoma State University. After graduating with an M.F.A., she began teaching art, first as an assistant at the university and later at Memorial High School in Tulsa.
She met her future husband, Michael deMar Collins, while they were students at Oklahoma State. They were married on Nov. 23, 1967, and moved to Springs the following year. They had one son, Brendan Collins.
Mrs. Collins taught art to students in kindergarten through eighth grade at the Springs School for more than 35 years. She was also an active member of the Springs Presbyterian Church, where she served as a deacon for many years.
She is survived by her husband and her son, her daughter-in-law, Heather, and her grandchildren Samuel, Everett, and Juniper. She also leaves a sister,
Lillian Williams of Tulsa, and her children and their families. Another sister, Millie, died before her.
A funeral was held last Thursday at the Springs Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Robert Stuart officiating. She was buried at the hamlet’s Green River Cemetery.
Her family has suggested donations to the church, at 5 Old Stone Highway, East Hampton 11937, the Springs Fire Department, 179 Fort Pond Boulevard, East Hampton, or the Kanas Center, care of East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach 11978 or online at eeh.org.