Lighthouse 02

Josephine Finocchiaro Collins

March 4, 1941 ~ February 26, 2021 (age 79)


Josephine F. Collins Josephine Finocchiaro Collins passed away on February 26, 2021 from congestive heart failure. She was born on March 4, 1941 in Sicily to Biagio Finocchiaro and Jane Mudano Finocchiaro. Josephine, her parents, and her three siblings immigrated to Hartford, Connecticut in 1957. She graduated from Hartford High School in 1958. She then attended St. Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut graduating in 1962 with a degree in chemistry. Josephine worked for the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., where she developed chemical techniques to measure pesticide residues in crops. She published these finding in chemical journals. In 1966 she met Bill Collins, a medical resident, at D.C. General Hospital. They married in 1967. Daughter Julia was born in 1968, son John in 1970. Bill’s service in the Army Medical Corps took the young family first to San Antonio, Texas and then to San Francisco, California. A week’s vacation in Laguna Beach, California in 1972 led to the decision to move to Orange County in 1973, when Bill’s service in the Army was finished. Josephine happily spent the rest of her life in the Santa Ana-Tustin area. Josephine spent her next fifteen years raising the children, volunteering at the kids school, St. Jeanne de Lestonnac, especially on science projects for all the children. In 1975, when the Vietnam War was lost, thousands of refugees were sent to Camp Pendleton. As a Red Cross Volunteer Josephine went to help. There she met an extended Vietnamese family of seventeen people. She convinced Bill that they should sponsor this large family. They did and a lifelong friendship developed. One of the young girls grew up to be a doctor and is in medical practice with daughter Julia! Josephine was active in the Orange County Chapter of the American Association of University Women, serving as president for one year. She also worked for many years in the thrift shop for the Assistance League of Santa Ana which helps support a dental clinic for poor children and a program to provide school clothes for needy children. Josephine was also a docent at the Bowers Museum for several years. Josephine had a very large group of friends and especially enjoyed book groups with her friends. She and Bill loved to travel especially to Sicily to see her large family there. Josephine was a wonderful Sicilian cook and passed these skills on to her granddaughter. Josephine was predeceased by her parents and her son-in-law, Michael Motherway, who died of ALS. She leaves behind her husband of 54 years, Bill, daughter Dr. Julia Motherway, son John Collins and daughter-in-law Kathleen, and five grandchildren. Because of the Covid pandemic, only local family may attend the Mass which will be held at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange at noon on March 12th. The service will be live streamed at for those who wish to participate. Internment will follow at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery. A celebration of life for all her relatives in the U.S. and her many friends will be held in the summer or early fall, when the Covid pandemic has abated. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a donation in Josephine’s memory may do so by sending a contribution to the ALS Association, Orange County Chapter at: 14471 Chambers Rd., Suite 111 Tustin, CA 92780

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Josephine Finocchiaro Collins, please visit our floral store.


Private Funeral Mass
March 3, 2021

© 2021 Brown Colonial Mortuary. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy