Irene Bohlander-Collins passed away on August 10th in Turlock, CA. She was 95 years old.
Born on February 6, 1922 to Albert Pauls and Frances Guglieri, her early years were riddled with adversity. Her parents separated when she was only 3 and she lived with different relatives in both California and Idaho. At the age of 10, her father died and again she was moved from family to family. She always stayed close with her two brothers, however. Despite these difficulties, she became a radio operator, a photographer at Bimbo’s 365 Club in SF, and a student at UC Berkeley. During WWII, she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps, serving at Dugway Airbase in Utah. Upon discharge, she married DR. I.N. Bohlender. In 1947, they moved to Turlock where he started his practice, Veterinary Medical Center and together they started a family, adopting Brent, Jon, and Diane.
Irene’s desire to learn never ceased; she went on to continue her education, taking pre-veterinarian science classes at MJC and then transferring to UC Davis. In 1965 she receive her Doctorate in Veterinary Science and began practicing alongside her husband, taking on the small animal responsibilities.
Upon I.N.’s death, Irene sold the large animal hospital and opened a smaller animal clinic on Crane Ave. in Turlock. In 1947, she married Dr. James Collins and moved into a ranch south of Turlock. In the late 80’s, she sold the Crane practice to Dr. Santos. Irene’s desire to continue being a practicing veterinarian never wavered. She opened Dr. Irene’s Mobile Clinic, traveling and caring for people’s animals in the comfort of their own home when they couldn’t get to a hospital. She continued her practice until reaching the age of 90.
Irene was honored by the Stanislaus County Commission for Women and designated a “Stanislaus County Pioneer Woman.” Never one to seek recognition, when she was given her award and asked to say a few words, she kept her speech simple. She thanked everyone for the award and concluded with, “I only speak to animals.”
Irene enjoyed spending time with her Tuesday night card group and her Turlock Golf and Country Club women’s group, which she was an honorary member of. She valued education and believed strongly in never giving up, having struggled early in her life through some very difficult times. She always believed that “God is faithful.” She was a survivor; a strong, independent, opinioned, concerned, caring, and most of all, generous women whose strength in life will live on in all who had the honor of knowing her.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Frances Guglieri and Albert Pauls; her husbands, Dr. I.N. Bohlender, DVM (1947–1973) and Dr. James Collins, MD (1974–2007); her son, Jon Bohlender; and her two brothers, Vernon and Bob Pauls.
She is survived by her children, Brent (Julie) Bohlender of Turlock and Diane Thomas of Modesto; her step-children, James (Lelani) Collins of Sacramento, Denis (Barbara) Collins of Henderson, NV, Nora (Kennard) Kobrin of Barrington, R.I., Suzan (Katherine) Collins of Patterson, and Tim Collins; along with numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and nieces.
A visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by the rosary at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 17th. A Funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 18th with a reception following from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All services will be held at Turlock Funeral Home, 425 N. Soderquist Rd., Turlock.
The family would like to thank Covenant Village and all those who treated her with kindness and respect. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your favorite charity in her name.