Mission Directors Pay Tribute to Maribeth Collins,Whose Family Endowed Missionary Program
By Elliott Wright*
Directors of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries paid tribute on October 12 to Maribeth Wilson Collins, the matriarch of a family whose generosity to the global mission of The United Methodist Church is without parallel. Mrs. Collins died on October 4 in Portland, Oregon, one month shy of her 99th birthday.
*Elliott Wright is information consultant for Global Ministries.
The benefactions of the Collins family are especially important in providing health and retirement benefits to Global Ministries missionaries. The income is derived from timber land and trusts willed to a predecessor of the agency by Mrs. Collins’ father-in-law, Everell S. Collins, who died in 1940. The total revenue in any given year depends on the timber harvest. It amounted to $3.4 million in 2016 and $3.7 million the previous year.
PHOTO: COURTESY WILLAMETE UNIVERSITY
Mrs. Collins, who in 1964 succeeded her late husband, Truman Wesley Collins, as chair of the Collins Companies board, served until 2005. She was fittingly remembered by Global Ministries in the context of a service of worship in which seven new missionaries were commissioned.
“It was a huge honor for me to have met Mrs. Collins many times and see both her commitment and her humility,” said Roland Fernandes, who as Global Ministries’ general treasurer and chief operations officer represents the agency in its interaction with the Collins Companies.
“It is hard to imagine our missionary program today without the support of the Collins Forest Income. Various original bequests were combined over the years to focus the Collins funds on missionary health care and pensions. We would have far fewer missionaries past and present without the Collins forest support.”
Thomas Kemper, the Global Ministries chief executive added his appreciation in an interview: “It is not only the Collins income for which we are thankful, but also for the company’s environmentally sensitive approach to forestry and for the family’s commitment to inclusiveness and diversity in civic life, the workplace, and the church.
“Mr. Everell Collins, who willed us the timber assets, was a firm believer in church’s interaction with social and political issues. I hope we have benefitted from his spirit as well as his resources. We rarely have opportunity to publicly express our gratitude to the Collins family.”
Maribeth Collins, the mother of four children, was a major supporter and longtime trustee of the 175 year-old Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, an outgrowth of the Methodist mission and the oldest university in the Western United States. She was notably committed to building up the university’s art museum. A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church, Portland, on October 18.