In Gordon Alabama on December 4, 1937, Bryant and Ellen Collins birthed a beautiful baby girl and named her Gertrude, after her Grandmother. Her family later moved to Tampa, Florida, where she grew up and graduated from Middleton High School in 1956. As the military wife of her first husband George, she and her three children travelled the world, eventually landing in Columbus, Ohio. In 1979, she and Elton, her devoted husband of 41 years, transitioned to Clearwater, Florida where they have lived happily together for over four decades.
Known to most as Trudy but called “Sug” by her closest lifelong friends and family, she was truly a beautiful woman, physically and more importantly, spiritually. Those who met her were instantly attracted to her by her warm, inviting, bubbly nature. She was real – nothing phony or superficial about her. She always wanted to make people feel good about themselves. For example, as a one of the first Black Drivers License examiners in Clearwater, for years she helped dozens of folks of all races who struggled to get their license get through the process. Many thanked her long after she retired. She also was a mentor to middle school girls who she got calls from years later thanking her for her wise advice.
Her calling was to help others improve their lives, which she did with God-given grace and style. Whether you called her Gertrude, Trudy or Sug, those who she touched over her long life will miss her dearly.
Trudy is survived by her husband Elton; children Daryl Pickens, Ana Scruggs; sister Bernell Parker; brothers, Alvin Collins, Joseph Collins; grandchildren, Christopher Pickens, Zachariah Pickens, Ramzee Pickens, Channelle Pickens, Nicole Pickens, Olivia Scruggs; nieces and nephews, Donna Warren, Lionel Pickens, Kelvin Pickens, Tony Pickens, William Pickens, Velda Lowe, Mia Collins; and a host of family members and friends.