Helen Collins-Sandora Obituary

Helen Frances Collins-Sandora
Helen Frances Collins-Sandora

February 6, 1926 - April 29, 2020
Born in New London, CT
Resided in Niantic, Connecticut

Obituary

Helen Collins Sandora

New London — Helen Frances Collins Sandora, 94, of New London passed away peacefully, surrounded by family Wednesday, April 29, 2020, at her home in Niantic.

Helen was born in New London Feb. 6, 1926. She was the fifth of seven children born to the late Helen Patricia Boyle and William Collins. She attended Harbor School, Class of 1940, graduated from Williams Memorial Institute, Class of 1944, and then the Joseph Lawrence School of Nursing where she graduated in 1948, as part of the Cadet Nursing Corps.

Helen had a long career as a nurse. Right out of school she worked at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital before traveling with several nursing school friends to work in California. She returned to New London and again worked at L+M for a couple years. In 1953 she began working at the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Haven, where she was a Pulmonary Medical head nurse until 1983. She was an inspiring person and her nursing vocation motivated her younger sister, and five of her ten nieces to also become nurses. She worked hard and enjoyed her life, living for many years in Madison. She traveled with her great friends to Florida, Brazil, Europe, Haiti, the Bahamas and skied in many locations including the Matterhorn in Switzerland.

After her long and very successful career, she married Joseph Sandora of Groton in 1992. They were happily married and lived in Voluntown until his death in December of 2015.
In addition to her husband, she is predeceased by brothers, William, James, and Donald Collins; and sisters, Mary Pero, and Elizabeth Kenyon. She is survived by her sister Jean Lena and her husband Dr. Richard Lena. The Collins sisters were all very close speaking daily, and always making time to celebrate special times together. Jean will especially miss her sister.

She was a great sister, friend and aunt to her twenty-five nieces and nephews. She was known to always remember birthdays, graduations, engagements, weddings, and babies with a special card and note. She was incredibly generous and caring babysitting for two generations, passing down her gently used cars, and sending unsolicited checks to many a college student. Everyone enjoyed their special time with Aunt Helen. Her large extended family from the Collins, Pero, Lena, and Kenyon families will miss her dearly. She will also be missed by her lifelong friend Ann Malchiodi, and her friends Bill and Luann Heller, who were so good to both Joe and Helen.
The families would like to extend their thanks to Helen’s care team; Dr. Constantine Manthous, Dr. Benjamin Newton, her caregiver, Lindy Africa, and Dawn McDermott and all the staff from Hartford HealthCare at Home’s Center for Hospice Care. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to Hartford HealthCare at Home’s Center for Hospice Care, 227 Dunham Street, Norwich, CT 06360, https://www.hospicesect.org/donate, so that they may continue in their exemplary standard of care.

A funeral will be planned at a later date when the families can gather to celebrate Helen’s life. Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home in New London will be handling the arrangements.

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