Born in Chicago in 1936. Andrea Lillian Nichols was the oldest of 5 children, Her parents, Andrew E Nichols and Lillian B (Alfano) Nichols were also born in Chicago. Her siblings were Andrew E. Nichols II, Grace M. (Giuliano) Nichols, Robert Nichols and Leroy Nichols. Andrea lived in Chicago for 38 years. She married and had two sons, Donald E. and Michael L. Drake.
The cold Illinois winters became too much for Andrea, so she and her sons moved to California in 1974, along with her mother and youngest brother. Initially settling in Orange County, Andrea worked as a hair stylist and soon purchased a salon, (the first of two salons she owned) thus becoming an owner / operator to support herself and the boys.
In 1980, Andrea met Glenn Collins in a bowling alley/league. Ultimately they married on August 9, 1980. So, her family grew to include Monica K. (Hollinger) and Jeffrey Collins, Glenn’s two children. Andrea and Glenn remained married until she passed, living in Orange County and Riverside County primarily.
Both Andrea and Glenn enjoyed camping and soon after marriage acquired their first RV. Actually it was a pick-up truck with a camper on the bed. As time passed, and the joy of camping continued, they upgraded the RV and extended their traveling days. Trips with their grandkids were exciting for all of us and gave us memories we all carry to this day.
Andrea and Glenn decided to try golf and they liked it; playing frequently. Not great, but Andrea could really putt well. She had a wonderful sense of color, if she had not become a Hairstylist, she would probably have pursued Interior Decorating. This artistic flair in part led to her love of Quilting, which her daughter-in-law, Roxanne Cox-Drake introduced into her life. She also took oil painting classes and pursued painting for several years producing a number of oils. But, quilting was her main artistic passion.
One has to mention Andrea’s love of cooking (and eating) Italian Food. She introduced Glenn to a whole new world of food—which he loved and so did his waistline. Andrea and her sister Grace, or Babe as she was known, could always be counted on for great pasta, sausage bread, cookies and anything else Italian for the family.
Through the years the immediate family grew, giving her 8 grandchildren. First came Donald the III, followed by Katrina, Nicolas, and Anthony from Donald’s family. Monica’s children River and Desiree came next. Jeffrey Jr, son of Jeff Sr was seventh in line. Michael’s Daughter Amanda became the 8th and final grandchild. She was also blessed with 8 great-grandchildren and counting. She was very proud of her entire family and felt great joy at family gatherings.
Andrea spent time with her grandchildren, providing child care and giving them opportunities to learn new things. She involved them in golfing and pottery classes. The summer trips opened a new world to them as they crabbed in Washington and mutton busting in Colorado. She guided them in the kitchen, instilling a love of cooking and baking. Later in life she enjoyed watching the chaos as her great grandchildren entered the world.
Andrea’s brother Andrew II, (Nick) and sister Babe passed away within the last 2 years. But they are survived by their many children. Her nephews and nieces and their families as well as her surviving brothers’ children combine to be a fairly large group.
Until she passed, Andrea was the oldest member of the family. A wife, mother, grandparent and great-grandparent that will be greatly missed. She is leaving us with great memories. She was a strong woman having been a single mother and endured some major events in her life. Andrea was strong willed, had strong opinions, and was incredibly devoted and passionate about her family. In many respects she was a role model.
Andrea leaves behind her loving husband, Glenn, her children Donald (Roxanne and 4 children), Michael (Lori and 1 child), Monica (2 children), and Jeffrey and his son, plus her brothers Robert (3 children) and Lee (3 children) and a lot of nephews and nieces.
Andrew Eugene NicholsFather
Lillian Bianca AlfanoMother
Andrew E. Nichols IIBrother
Grace M. (Nichols) GiulianoSister
Glenn W. CollinsSpouse
Donald E. DrakeSon
Michael L. DrakeSon
Monica Hollinger - CollinsDaughter
Jeffrey G. CollinsSon