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April 20, 2010 3:25 am

Sally-Kate Bleeker (Brown) Mock Collins

Written by Tribune Staff

(March 10, 1937 - March 2, 2010)

Sally-Kate Collins of Gillette, Wyo., died Tuesday, March 2, 2010, at the Billings Clinic surrounded by her family.

Sally-Kate was born in Troy, N.Y., on March 10, 1937, to Ruth (Isabel Uline) and Phillip Hurlbut. She then moved with her mother, step-father Alec Brown, and brother Michael A. Brown, to Billings in 1949.

She attended elementary schools in the Billings area and Billings Senior High School. She married Miles “Shorty” Mock in 1953 in Billings.

They had three sons, Miles Stephen Gaansevort “Mick” Mock-Jones of Arizona; Curtis Alec Mock of Rhode Island; and Douglas Edward “Hank” Mock of Montana. Shorty and Sally-Kate later divorced.

Sally-Kate married Robert L. “Bob” Collins in 1979. They lived in Columbus, Mont., Casper, Cody and, finally, Gillette.

Sally attended Eastern Montana College in Billings, graduating with bachelor's degrees in physical education, English and education. She also earned her certified nursing assistant license while living in Cody in order to work in the hospital. Then she and Bob opened Our House, a senior care home.

Sally-Kate loved riding and training horses. She enjoyed gardening and raising flowers — hyacinths and tulips were being grown inside this spring. She was an accomplished cook. Her cookbook collection was only dwarfed by her collection of individual recipes. Each recipe had a story to go with it. Her love was doing things for other people.

She loved to read and enjoyed listening to books-on-tape and watching movies and documentaries.
Sally-Kate met every challenge through her faith.

Even though she was confined to a wheelchair as a complication of multiple sclerosis, diabetes and heart failure, Sally's first concern was how she could help others.

She tutored students in math, social studies and English in her home.

She spent 45 years working with youngsters in the 4-H horse program in both Montana and Wyoming.

She enjoyed the monthly gatherings in the Cottonwood Terrace Apartments where she lived in Gillette. She counseled the home health ladies and often the nurses at the hospital who were helping her — about their children, their parents, their spouses and, of course, their horses!

She was also a long-time supporter of groups working to help children, including the Omaha School for Boys and Mi Casa in South America just to mention a few.

She is survived by her husband, Bob Collins; her boys, Mick, Curtis and Hank; and her first husband Shorty Mock.

She is also survived by her brother, Michael of Billings; her sisters, Toni Brown-Kemerling of Gillette and Kandi Gropp of Denver. Surviving grandchildren include Chris and Amanda Mock of Billings; Nathan, Gabrielle and Patrick Mock of Rhode Island; two great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Phillip Hurlbut and Ruth and Alec Brown.

Donations may be made to the Sally-Kate Collins Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank. Funds will be donated to the University of Illinois at Chicago MS Tissue Repository where Sally's brain and spinal cord were donated for research. Memorials may also be made in Sally-Kate's name to the 4-H horse program or to a worthy program of one's choice.

A memorial service will be at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 24 at the Cody Senior Center.