This obituary is part of a series on people who died in the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the others here.
Rosemary Collins’ classical vocal training came through clearly when she sang tunes. But she was just as comfortable with Meat Loaf, the numbers of “Les Misérables” and “all those great ’80s power ballads,” said her husband, Stan Collins.
Ms. Collins loved to bring together different genres in her programs at the church where she was the music director and in schools in Florida where she taught music. “She had a very eclectic style,” said Collins. “But she knew how to throw. She might even yodel.
Ms Collins died on December 22 at a hospital in Clearwater, Florida, near her home in Palm Harbor. She was 51 years old. The cause was complications from the coronavirus; she died just days after experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, her husband said.
Rosemary Caldwell was born on April 9, 1969 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Her mother, Sidney (Lindsey) Caldwell, was a math teacher and her father, Richard Caldwell was an environmental scientist. She graduated from Countryside High School in 1986, and received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance in 1991 from the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg and a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond two years over late.
She met Mr. Collins in their college jazz choir and they were married in 1993.
Ms. Collins has taught music for nearly two decades in Pinellas County schools, most recently as director of choral activities at Clearwater High School. “This job meant everything to her,” said Collins. “She had such a passion for children and public education.”
She was also the Director of Music at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clearwater. Reverend Andrew Walton, the pastor, said Ms Collins raised the bar on all things music during her two years, incorporating popular tunes into the choral program and bringing in guest musicians.
“Her line between profane and sacred was rather hazy, which matches mine,” he said, recalling that he had been led to drag the Beatles into his sermons thanks to her.
Her role has also placed Ms. Collins at the social center of the church. “I would venture to say that there are currently 100 people talking about their best friend Rosemary,” he said a few days after her death.
Besides Mr. Collins, Mrs. Collins is survived by her mother; two daughters, Lindsey, 21, and Griffin, 18; her sister, Ann Caldwell Adair and her brother, Richard Allen Caldwell. Her children are both active in music; Lindsey Collins is a vocal specialist at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
“She looks like her mother when she sings,” Mr. Collins said. “It keeps her with me.