17 Jun
2013

All the Saints, All the Time: Honoring Barbara Collie of Lindhurst, New York

BARBARA COLLIEVery few people can say “I was there from the beginning,” but Barbara is one of them. Barbara is one of a select few who had the vision, patience and fortitude to take the first steps to start a congregation. She personifies the statement “ordinary people can do extraordinary things.”

Barbara and her late husband, Alex, moved to Lindenhurst, Long Island, New York in 1953, and met a small group of Episcopalians who were worshiping in a home. From those humble beginnings, they moved to a VFW Hall, and finally built the beautiful campus that sits on a hill. That small group of people raised enough money to not only secure the land and build the church, but also pay off the mortgage. They funded numerous expansions and improvements to make the Church of St. Boniface what it is today.

Barbara continues to be the backbone of St. Boniface, having served in elected and appointed positions in every organization she has, and continues, to belong to. She presently serves as the Secretary of the ECW and the Boniface Society, organizations in which she has held every other elected office. She is a regular attendee at all weekday and Sunday services. Barbara was instrumental in the conception and implementation of St. Boniface’s SERVE program; our ministry to returning veterans and the implementation and continued success of our Mariner’s ministry with the Seaman’s Church Institute. She is why St Boniface is a strong body of faith and service in Lindenhurst.

Barbara’s service is not limited to the Church. She is not only a charter member of St. Boniface; she is also a charter member of the North Lindenhurst Fire Department, where she has continued to serve the Women’s Auxiliary for over 50 years. The Village Square is named for Alex, her late husband who served the community until his death.

In addition to being a pioneer in the church and the community, Barbara was a pioneer in the workforce. Barbara, after being raised and educated in Jamaica, Queens with her sister Joan, worked in Manhattan from the age of 16 at Scott, Foresman & Company, a publishing firm, as a secretary. She continued to travel to Manhattan throughout her pregnancy until her first daughter was born. Barbara later became a bus driver. The picture of this petite lady commanding a large bus still brings smiles and looks of awe. Barbara returned to the workforce in local and county government in the office of the Babylon Town Councilman and later on in the Office of Consumer Affairs for Suffolk County.

Widowed in 1978, Barbara has encouraged her four daughters to pursue their dreams while helping the less fortunate. She is a grandmother of 12 and a great-grandmother of 4 and still very proficient in shorthand. She has been, and continues to be, a role model to all who have any interaction with her.

Nominated by Deborah Richberg, May 2013. We are deeply grateful to Ms. Richberg and all the others who have nominated these outstanding women for the All the Saints, All the Time recognition through the Episcopal Women’s History Project.

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