Pat Collins, mother of GOP Maine Sen. Susan, dead at 96

Patricia “Pat” Collins, a civic-minded matriarch who raised six children, including Republican Sen. Susan Collins, and led a life of public service, died Tuesday at age 96, the senator announced.

Pat Collins was raised in Port Jervis, New York, after coming to the United States as a girl from Colombia, and she put down roots in Maine after attending the University of Maine, marrying husband Donald in 1948, starting a family and becoming the first woman to be elected mayor in Caribou and a chair of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees.

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She also was an artist who painted watercolor portraits of her husband’s colleagues in the Maine Senate, earned an art degree from the University of Maine at Presque Isle and was “a fabulous cook who published two cookbooks,” the senator said.

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) questions Attorney General Merrick Garland regarding the investigation of Hunter Biden’s laptop during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing to discuss the fiscal year 2023 budget of the Department of Justice at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on April 26, 2022. (GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills called Pat Collins “a friend and trailblazer” who loved her state, “especially her cherished Aroostook County.”

“Pat will be remembered for her extraordinary character, marked by grace and integrity. She leaves behind a deep legacy of service,” Mills wrote in a statement.

Pat Collins found time for many other public service-minded posts while raising her family. She served on the advisory committee of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, as a court-appointed special advocate for children and chair of the Catholic Charities Maine Board of Directors and the Catholic Foundation of Maine Board of Trustees.

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She was married for 70 years to her husband, who died in 2018. Surviving are five other children in addition to the senator, 11 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

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