Eleanor Collins family
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Eleanor Collins was a luminary in Canada’s music scene and sadly she bid farewell on March 3, 2024, in Surrey, British Columbia, aged 104.

While details of her passing remain undisclosed, her legacy resonates through the annals of time.

With a voice that soared beyond boundaries and a spirit that defied conventions, Eleanor’s life was a symphony of resilience and artistry.

Join us as we delve into the depths of her family, unraveling the threads of her legacy that continue to weave through the fabric of Canadian culture.

Eleanor Collins Family Background

Eleanor Collins, born Elnora Ruth Proctor on November 21, 1919, in Edmonton, Alberta, was deeply rooted in a family with a rich history, one that intertwined migration, perseverance, and a profound love for music.

Her family’s journey began amidst the great migration of Black settlers from Oklahoma to Canada, seeking opportunities and a better life.

Eleanor’s parents, Richard Ellis Proctor and Estella Mae Cowan Proctor were integral parts of this movement after joining a community of African-American homesteaders who ventured from Oklahoma, Ohio, and Kansas to Alberta in response to the Canadian government’s settlement promotion in 1906.

In the Proctor household, music wasn’t merely a pastime; it was a way of life.

From a young age, Eleanor and her siblings were immersed in a musical tradition that was as much a part of their daily routine as breathing.

Each family member was assigned a key and harmonic part, contributing to the ensemble with their voices and instruments, thereby laying the groundwork for Eleanor’s future musical endeavors.

Life in Edmonton wasn’t without its challenges. Eleanor’s father, Richard, sustained an injury that halted his work as a furniture deliveryman, thrusting the responsibility of providing for the family onto Estella’s shoulders.

Undeterred by her limited formal education, Estella exhibited remarkable resilience and entrepreneurial spirit by establishing a hand laundry service at home.

The Proctor children, including Eleanor and her sisters, rallied to support their mother in the family business, showcasing the tight-knit bonds and solidarity that defined their upbringing.

Despite the hardships they faced, music remained a constant source of joy and solace for the Proctor family.

It was within the confines of their home, amidst the backdrop of their mother’s industriousness and their father’s unwavering support, that Eleanor’s passion for music flourished.

Her upbringing instilled in her not only a love for melody and harmony but also a deep appreciation for the strength and resilience of her family.

The legacy of Eleanor Collins extends far beyond her achievements as a groundbreaking vocalist; it is rooted in the rich tapestry of her family’s history—a history woven with threads of migration, determination, and the transformative power of music.

Who Was Eleanor Collins Husband Richard? Four Children

Eleanor Collins husband Richard (Dick) Collins played a pivotal role in their family dynamic, primarily dedicating himself to homemaking and supporting Eleanor as she pursued her remarkable career in music and television.

The couple settled in Burnaby in 1948, where they raised their four children: Rick, Judith, Barry, and Tom.

Eleanor’s career as a jazz singer and television host demanded considerable dedication and time, and Richard’s unwavering support allowed her to focus on her professional endeavors.

His commitment to household responsibilities ensured that Eleanor could pursue her passion without being encumbered by domestic duties.

Their union was not only defined by Richard’s support for Eleanor’s career but also by the love and nurturing environment they provided for their children.

Despite the challenges they faced as the first Black family in their Burnaby neighborhood, Eleanor and Richard remained steadfast in creating a loving home for their children, fostering an environment where their talents and aspirations could flourish.

Eleanor’s dedication to her family extended beyond the confines of their home.

Despite the discrimination they encountered, Eleanor actively engaged in their community, volunteering at her children’s school, and teaching music to challenge stereotypes and foster cultural understanding.

The legacy of Eleanor and Richard Collins is carried on by their children, who continue to embody the values of perseverance, resilience, and passion instilled in them by their parents.

Eleanor’s contributions to the music industry and her tireless advocacy for equality and inclusion serve as inspirations not only to her children but to all who have been touched by her remarkable life.

As Eleanor leaves behind a profound impact on the world, her husband Richard stands as proof of the power of unwavering support and devotion in nurturing the talents and dreams of those we love.

Together, they created a legacy that transcends generations, leaving an indelible mark on the music industry and society as a whole.

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