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Mary “Madge” T. Collier received her Wings on December 25, 2023.
A resident of Manchester, formerly Hartford, she passed away peacefully in the care of loved ones. A devoted mother, nana, sister, aunt and friend to many.
Born in Springfield, TN on January 12, 1941, to the late Oscar Terry and Mable (Bell) Terry Stone and one of eight children. A central figure at Pearl H.S. and Tennessee State University, Madge became one of the first Black secretaries in the Nashville region.
In the 1960s, the Collier’s relocated to CT. The great migration to the North presented fresh, new opportunities to achieve lifelong aspirations. A journey to the greater Hartford/New Haven area afforded Mary ways to fulfill her wildest dreams. This resulted in enrolling at the Ophelia DeVore Modeling School (NYC), continuing her studies, and pursuing a mission to promote the welfare of families.
Ms. Mary was instrumental in the early years of the founding of the Amistad House, located at the corner of Clark and Capen Streets in Hartford. It established social programs such as the first infant daycare center and group home for high school-age girls. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church became the Amistad House in 1972.
Ms. Collier obtained roles as a long-time staffer in the late Senator and The Honorable Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.’s Hartford Offices, city mayors and advisor to local trailblazers. Her inspirational spirit and exceptional impact were warmly felt by many, whereas, she was affectionately known as the “Queen of Hartford,” who shared lessons learned and affirmed the under-resourced.
A tough cookie with a giant presence who worked tirelessly toward the betterment of others. Anyone blessed to develop a relationship with Mary, soon realized how much she cared and how much they mattered. A well-respected, unrivaled voice, committed to supporting others toward reaching their full potential. She always diligently demonstrated a belief in the human spirit and the proverb that “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Mom Collier loved her children. By quickly establishing friendships and fellowships throughout CT, she raised seven children, two nieces, and two nephews within caring community circles. Actively involved with various civic organizations; and a member of several boards: the Hartford YWCA Board; the Hartford Job Corps; the United Way; as well as the Urban League Education Committee. Mary was also politically active as co-founder and co-chairperson of the CT Chapter of the Congressional Black Caucus Braintrust; co-founder of both the State Chapter of the Black Republican Council and the State Chapter of the Political Congress of Black Women.
Mary Collier received numerous awards from many communities in recognition of her sincere dedication. She was the proud recipient of the Minority Supplier Advocacy Award in 1988 from the CT Minority Purchasing Council; the Outstanding Contribution Award in 1990 from the Minority Business Development Center and the Exceptional State of Connecticut Minority Enterprise Development Agency’s Unparalleled Commitment Award in 1992.
A fruitful career in the public sector resulted in a one-term appointment as Commissioner for Hospitals and Healthcare that began in March 1991 by former Governor Weicker. Countless stories, upon stories, revealed all of the good work accomplished and resulted in a second appointment, again by Weicker in July 1992, as Managing Director for the State of Connecticut’s Inter-Agency Business Development Office.
After a short stint in the private business sector, as Vice President of Operations of the Cellular Group, Inc., Mary returned to her first love and passion as a public servant. This led her to neighboring Boston, MA, in leadership roles at the New England Minority Purchasing Council. Thereafter, Mary T. Collier held different roles in Hartford’s surrounding towns, supporting youth, minority businesses, healthcare initiatives, voter registration, and underserved communities.
Minister Collier, a woman of unwavering Christian faith, was a member of Messiah Missionary Baptist Church (Bloomfield). She is survived by children: Trudy C. Robinson; Tracy (Kimberly); Troxel; Tania (H Thomas) Fletcher; Treda Collier (Howard) Dickenman; Terry; Teresia Bost and stepson Curtis (Sang Ok) Bradley. Siblings: Betty Druett; Edward “Sonny” Terry; James “Steve” Terry; Edna “Tina” Terry and a host of grandchildren, great grandchildren, relatives and dear friends.
Predeceased by children: Antonio Frazier; Patricia Claypool; Harold Frazier and Travis. Her parents: Mable Terry Stone and Oscar Terry. Siblings: Martha Wells; Robert “Bubba” Terry and Catherine Terry.
The kindness and care shown to our mom is sincerely appreciated. We wish to thank the medical professionals; the Manchester Memorial Critical Care Team; the Visiting Nurse & Health Services of CT Hospice Care; neighbors and friends.
Funeral Services are on Friday, January 5, 2024, at 10:30 am at South Church, 90 Main Street, New Britain, with calling hours at 9:30 am and parking diagonally across from South Church at Szczesny Garage. 35 Bank Street, New Britain. To access the service via livestream, follow the YouTube channel: South Church, New Britain, CT or the South Congregational-First Baptist Church Facebook page.