WATERTOWN, NY — Sarah J. Collins, Watertown, passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, at Rome Memorial Hospital. She was 64 years old.
Born March 24, 1957, in Malone, the daughter of Thomas Patrick and Phyllis Jean (Elliott) Fitzgerald, Sarah was one of seven children in a large, close-knit family raised in the Watertown area. She graduated from Watertown High School in 1975, and went on to earn an Associates degree from Jefferson Community College, as well as a New York State Teaching Assistant certification.
Sarah’s marriage to John Keenan in 1985 ended in divorce. A marriage to Thomas P. Collins in 2012 ended with his death later that year.
Sarah initially worked as a clerk and switchboard operator at Stebbins Engineering & Manufacturing, followed by employment as an office manager for the Car-Freshner Corporation. She began her career at the Watertown City School District in 1989, working in the capacity of a teaching assistant at H.T. Wiley Intermediate, Case Junior and Watertown High School. Sarah touched the lives of hundreds of children that she worked with, and was affectionately known by many high schoolers simply as “Keenan.” She retired in 2015.
For many years, Sarah served as a faithful caretaker for her mother, Phyllis, while she was in failing health. Sarah was an avid reader and dog lover. She enjoyed listening to music, attending concerts, and above all else, spending time with family and loved ones.
In retirement, Sarah enjoyed traveling the United States and being a Nana to her three grandchildren. Sarah was no stranger to fun, and she was never in a rush to take life too seriously.
Sarah is survived by her sons, Thomas P. Keenan (Lindsey Green) and Riley A. Keenan (Elizabeth Davis), both of Watertown; three grandchildren, Raegyn Agosto, Aubrey and Kellen Keenan; a sister, Maureen P. Gaylor and her husband, David, Ft. Myers, FL; a half brother, Richard G. Schneider, Pillar Point; a brother-in-law, Thomas Spink; several nieces, nephews and cousins; and her lifelong friends Alan Walts (Calcium) and Joanne Guardino (Watertown).
Sarah was predeceased by her parents, as well as two brothers, Thomas P. and Timothy M. Fitzgerald; and two sisters, Mary H. Kinsey and Candice N. Spink.
Calling hours will be held 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2, at Cummings Funeral Service, Inc., Watertown. Burial in Brookside Cemetery will be at her family’s convenience.
Online condolences to Sarah’s family may be posted at www.cummingsfuneral.com.
Donations in her name may be made to SPCA of Jefferson County, PO Box 531, Watertown, NY 13601.