Friends, colleagues gather at Capitol for emotional goodbye to former state senator

Local News
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Emotions poured out on the second floor of the State Capitol on Tuesday as dozens gathered to remember former state senator Linda Collins.

Authorities found Collins’ body outside her Pocohontas home one week ago, sparking a homicide investigation.

At Tuesday’s memorial event, a photo of Collins sat next to a podium where several friends and colleagues spoke about her colorful personality. 

“Linda was dressed in her red suit with her red lipstick on. She was animated. She was passionate,” State Sen. Missy Irvin (R- Mountain View) said while recalling an event she attended with Collins.

“I admired her tenacity. I told her one time I said ‘If you were a football player, you’d be a linebacker. No doubt,'” St. Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch) said.

Many who spoke praised her work ethic for District 19, calling Collins a businesswoman who loved the ‘Rock and Roll Highway’ and advocated for small town school.

“When everyone else was tired and worn out, had gone home and gone to bed, she was still working,” Erin Hogan, a former aide to Hogan, said.

Last week, State Police and the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office launched a homicide investigation into her death. A judge swiftly ordered all documents and details of the case to be sealed. 

Collins was in the midst of a court battle with her ex-husband, Phillip Smith, according to court documents. The couple divorced but were still arguing over money with a court hearing scheduled for later this month, according to testimony recorded in court documents.

A family spokesperson, Ken Yang, read a prepared statement from Linda’s father and two children. In the statement, the family indicated they wanted to speak about the case but are choosing not to in order to protect the investigation.

On Tuesday, people left flowers next to her memorial inside the Capitol, which will temporarily sit on the first floor.
Everything that was said at the podium was a true reflection of Linda,” State Sen. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs) says.

“She was a firecracker. I think she would have gotten a hoot out of today and would have totally enjoyed today.”

The tearful good-bye was held in a place where many believe her legacy lives on.

“We will miss you Linda,” Sen. Irvin said from the podium.

 “But, we will not forget you.”

The funeral for Linda Collins is scheduled for Saturday in Pocohontas, according to the Fears Family Funeral Home

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