Nancy Elizabeth Collins


Nancy Collins, wife of Marty Bernard '62, died suddenly 6/17/06.
The Alumni Herald •Benet Academy •St. Procopius Academy

Nancy's Biography from 2002:


Forty years!!!I was hoping when I got the phone call from Beth this morning that she would say December, since we will be in Hollywood for a meeting then. Unfortunately, we will be attending weddings the first two weeks in August. But perhaps many of us will be able to get back in touch as a result of this web site and the hard work of the reunion committee members. My husband and I walked "down the hill" after her call to have lunch at a local Thai restaurant and I bent his ear the entire time reminiscing about faces and names. This afternoon I spent 2-1/2 hours going through the entire list. I so hope more of you add bios to your names. How amazing to see what people in this class have gone on to do.

So here's mine. Went to Stetson, but was expelled second year. (long story.) After working a while, went to The University of Tennessee in Knoxville and eventually got a degree in math. Did lots of weird stuff (it was the Sixties), got married, got divorced, and wound up with an M.S. in 1976. By then, I was working for Jack Gibbons at UT (he later headed up the now-abolished White House Office of Science and Technology and was Clinton's Science Advisor) and he totally involved me in environmental and energy issues. So I knew what I wanted to focus on for my Ph.D., which I received in 1980. I was hired as a scientist by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which funded my dissertation. Those were great times -- lots of funding, fascinating and varied projects, tremendous energy.

In late 1984, I was forced to choose between staying at Oak Ridge or moving to Lawrence Berkeley National Lab or Argonne National Lab outside Chicago. I chose Argonne and made the right decision -- fell in love with my boss's boss and we married July 11, 1986.

Marty Bernard (Ph.D., Northwestern, Systems Engineer and Physicist) provided me with three ready-made kids with whom I have developed wonderful relationships. Jay, 34, is married and living in the Chicago suburbs with second wife, Imke (a German), and twins Damien and Sophia, born Jan. 6, 2000. Middle kid, Dan, is getting married in St. Paul on Aug. 2 at age 32, to a girl we met once for dinner before they moved to Cairo, Egypt, to try out careers other than journalism for a while. Jill, 30, is a wonderfully delightful single (at this time) improv comedienne. (Check out Comedy Sportz if you are in Minneapolis.)

In 1991, Marty had an offer he couldn't refuse: to move to Oakland and join a consulting firm run by an old friend. They made me an offer, too, so we moved, although I continued part-time at Argonne. After two years, I was very unhappy and got a few consulting projects with a good friend, so quit and re-formed our consulting firm (from Chicago), called Q4 Associates. Marty joined me three months later and we are now able to enjoy working at home and enjoying the wonderful 80-year old house, gardens, and neighborhood. Marty focuses on electric vehicles and car-sharing (see his web site at He is also a railfan (chasing and photographing trains) and is completing an addition to our garden railroad in the back yard. We will be open for tours on July 28 during the West Coast Garden Railway Convention. Come by if you are in the area! We will also have a neighborhood open house Labor Day weekend.

I never thought 40 years ago that this is what my life would be like today. I'm sure I'm not alone. This is just a snippet of all those years. My thoughts will be with all of you who make it to the reunion and those of you who aren't able. Stay in touch.