WESTBROOK — Myrt (Bennett) Collins, formerly of Bath, Maine, passed away on Nov. 15, 2013, at the Gosnell Hospice House in Scarborough, Maine.

She was born on Sept. 1, 1943, at home in Bucksport, Maine, to Herman and Clara (Savage) Bennett. She attended elementary schools in Bucksport and then moved with her family to Woolwich, Maine, where she graduated from Morse High School in 1961. After starting her family, she decided to pursue her college degree and received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Portland/Gorham in 1978. She later went on to receive two master’s degrees from the University of Southern Maine.

Myrt began her career in education when she opened the Tic Toc Nursery School in her Woolwich home. She went on to become the Head Start director in Bath, and after receiving her degree, she taught in Bath and Georgetown elementary schools. In the late ’80s, Myrt took a position as a reading resource teacher at Jack Elementary School in Portland. She became the principal at Jack Elementary a short time later and then eventually retired in 2007.

In 1977, Maine Public Broadcasting featured Myrt in their “Stepping Out” series which focused on Maine women making a difference. In 1994, she received a U.S. Department of Education/ Innovative Program Award for creating a schoolbased “Family Center” at Jack Elementary School. In 2002, the staff at Jack Elementary School received a Maine Education Association Honor Medal Award for work in helping families close a school with toxic mold issues. Myrt was the catalyst and driving force in the investigation of toxic mold at Jack School. Her relentless advocacy work on behalf of the health of her students and staff on this issue resulted in the closing and demolition of Jack School.

Myrt’s greatest love was the love she had for her family. She was extremely devoted to her children and grandchildren. She loved to go to her grandchildren’s sporting events, band concerts, promotion ceremonies, and church activities. Myrt enjoyed researching her genealogy and was a proud Mayflower descendent. She will always be remembered for advocacy for children and families.

Still here and loving Myrt are her husband, Bill Collins; her son, Scott Douglas (wife Judy); her daughter, Tami Blake Hamilton (husband Brent); her grandchildren, Andrew, Austin, Matthew, and Connor; her husband’s family, Chad Collins, Jenny and Bob Desisto, and Noah Green; her siblings, Glenwood Bennett, Cheryl DeBarge, and Ruth Bennett; and several nieces and nephews.

There will be a Celebration of Life service for Myrt on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. at the Prides Corner Congregational Church, 235 Pride St., Westbrook, Maine. A reception will follow. A private burial will be at a later date.

Myrt was an advocate for children and education and she was very fond of the late Jim Foye. Therefore, those wishing, in lieu of flowers, can make a donation in her memory to: The Jim Foye Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Westbrook High School, 125 Stroudwater St., Westbrook, ME 04092.

You’re invited to share your condolences on blaisandhayfuneralhome.com.