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Brittie Geraldine East Yule

ILION, NY — Brittie Geraldine “Jerry” East Yule Collins, age 91, passed away January 30, 2021, with the comfort of her loving family at her side, a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brittie was born April 21, 1929, in Pike County, Mississippi, daughter of Herbert E. and Minnie E. Boyte East. She had a hardscrabble country childhood in Boytetown, Brookhaven, MS. On September 28, 1944, she married Curtis G. Yule, who was stationed at Camp Van Dorn, MS, and moved to his home in New York where she raised her 10 children.

She established homes in Jordanville, Ilion and Mohawk, NY. In her early years she waitressed at popular diners, then held manufacturing jobs at UNIVAC and General Electric, later worked as a ward clerk at Utica Childrens Hospital, an optometrist technician, and then enjoyed her final career as a realtor. Along with her work she pursued her education, proudly culminating in an A.S. in Business from Herkimer County Community College. Through these years raising her children and working she developed many good friends and gained respect in the community. After retirement she married Robert Collins in 2008 and they were loving companions until his death in 2020.

Brittie was not a person who could be singularly typecast as a mother. Uniquely special to each of us, she was always searching, striving for more. As the matriarch of our family, she was a force to be reckoned with, strong-willed and opinionated, facing every obstacle with sheer self-determination. To be loved by her was a blessing. She was selflessly devoted to her family and treasured her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her laugh, quick wit, her bright blue eyes, and her singing in the kitchen as she cooked for us are memories we cherish. She would never lose her Southern drawl or her Southern charm. Her goodbyes were long, and she always said, “I love you.” She stood in the window, waving until you were long out of sight. Bittersweet, she wanted her children close, but understood the need she instilled in us to spread our wings. This we now continue. “We love you Mom, Gramma, Great-Gramma.“

Surviving are her nine children: Linda Jones (Robert), Mohave, AZ; James Yule (Elizabeth), Church Road, VA; Carol O’Neill, Frankfort, NY; John Yule, Hernando, FL; Candia Keehfus (Thomas) Jamesville, NY; Donald Yule (Lynda) Clinton, MS; Catherine Wintle (Bruce), Frankfort, NY; Joseph Yule (Joanna), Plano, TX; Dr. Jeffery Yule (Erin), Saint George, UT; 17 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren; and beloved cousins, Joanne Boyte Hester, Johnnie Marie Boyte Acy and Mary (Tom-Junior) Boyte.

She was preceded in death by her son Daniel Yule in 2012, husband Curtis in 2000, sister Sarah Margaret East Shaw in 1993, and brother Herbert “Bobby” E. East Jr. in 2003. She will rest with her family at Union Baptist Church Cemetery.