Andy Collins

Stewart “Andy” Collins passed away in March. He grew up in Havertown, Pa., and moved to California to work at Jet Propulsion Laboratory immediately after his graduation from Principia College. This was the fulfillment of his boyhood dream to be a planetary scientist.

One highlight of his professional career was the Voyager mission. From its inception he was involved with the imaging system which produced excellent photographs of scientific importance. He retired from JPL over a year ago after nearly 38 fulfilling years of enthusiastic labor and love, marked by a keen appreciation of his colleagues.

Andy Collins was a man who placed high value on marriage and family. His home was where his best friends lived, and it was the focal point of his affections. He taught his children to be self-reliant, generous, honest and caring. He eagerly shared his passion for the natural world. He loved the mountains, sea and sky, and outdoor family adventures. (And his must be the most complete collection of National Geographics in town!)

Much of Andy's volunteeer work in the community reflected his love for youth and his natural teaching instincts. He taught Sunday School (among other things) as a devoted member of the Church of Christ, Scientist, in Montrose. His five children attended La Cañada schools. For a total of 27 years Andy happily attended countless back-to-school nights, open houses, fairs, performances, concerts and sporting events. Early on he served on the La Cañada Educational Foundation board, giving generously of his time and enthusiasm. He enjoyed many opportunities to educate people of all ages in space science, feeding their curiosity and joy in learning.

As a boy Andy loved scouting. For many years he was on the JPL Boy Scout Troop 509 committee, and served for a time as scoutmaster. He believed firmly in nurturing the boys' discovery of their own leadership capabilities, and was willing to pay the price of a little chaos, if need be, to allow them to learn through their own experience. He thoroughly appreciated each boy's merits, taught the importance of wilderness skills, and encouraged a passion for adventure.

To recent runners on the La Cañada High School girls and boys cross country teams, “Mr. Collins” was also known affectionately as “Stat-Man.” He went to their meets to cheer them on, and meticulously recorded and tabulated their statistics. He lauded each success, encouraging every runner. He submitted articles to local newspapers so that the runners could be individually recognized and appreciated for their achievements.

Many people have been touched by Andy's life. He was genuinely interested in others, and he shared himself generously and wholeheartedly. His family members hold him close. They include his parents, Stewart and Barbara Collins of Frederick, Pa.; his wife, Robin; his children, Kevin, Brian, Kate, Michael and Marie; two sisters, Joan Brandt of Missouri and Katie Black of Pennsylvania; and a multitude of appreciative extended family members across the country.


Nancy Kraus

Nancy Mary Kraus, a former 67-year resident of La Cañada Flintridge, died May 30 in Arcadia. She was 82 years old.

Nancy was born Jan. 25, 1926 in Los Angeles to J.W. and Mary Blackman. When Nancy was about 8 years old she moved with her family to La Cañada, where she resided until 2001, when she relocated to Arcadia.

In 1947 she married dentist Dr. Donald Kraus, whose practice was on Foothill Boulevard. An actively involved parent, Nancy was an member of St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church. As the couple's children attended the local parochial schools, she was a supporter of St. Francis High School and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.

Nancy is survived by her daughters Judy Sullivan, Diane Spriestersbach and Janet Jensen; and by her sons, Tim, Gary and John Kraus. She also leaves seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Rosary will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, June 6, at Holy Cross Cemetery, 5835 W. Slauson Ave., Culver City, CA 90230. The funeral will be held there at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 7.


James Layland

James William Layland, a 35-year resident of La Cañada Flintridge and 40-year veteran of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, passed away on May 29, 2008.

Jim was born Dec. 23, 1940 in La Crosse, Wisc. to James Leroy and Marcella Layland. He went to college at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he earned a bachelor's degree, master's degree and ultimately doctorate in electrical engineering. He learned to play the bagpipes, and played in the Kiltie Pipers pipe band. There he met the love of his life, Charlotte.

Jim and Charlotte were married on Sept. 5, 1964. After Jim finished his doctorate in 1965, the young couple moved to California, where Jim began a lifelong career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, retiring in 2005. Their son James was born in 1967; daughter Charlotte Ann was born the next year.

While at JPL, Jim held positions of increasing responsibility, from staff engineer, group supervisor, manager, sub-program manager, and division technologist, and worked on many projects, most notably the Deep Space Network configurations to support the Voyager spacecraft outer planet encounters with Uranus and Neptune. His career at JPL resulted in the publication of over 75 reports and articles, two patents and several awards for technical results relating to communications and coding, including a NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1982.

In addition to his achievements at JPL, Jim loved music, dancing and traveling. He and his wife enjoyed ballroom dancing, square dancing, round dancing, and Jim also enjoyed clogging. They traveled all over the world together, including trips to all seven continents.

Jim is survived by his wife Charlotte, daughter Charlotte Ann, son James, grandchildren Evelyn, James, John and Jarrett. Funeral services for Jim were held June 4 at St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church.


Carole Sheridan

Carole Louise Sheridan (née Johnston), born Jan. 20, 1935, died at her home in Pasadena May 25, 2008 at the age of 73.

She was laid to rest in a “green” funeral (“natural burial”) at Memorial Ecosystems: Ramsey Creek Preserve burial ground in Westminster, South Carolina, on May 30.

Born in Detroit and brought to California as a child, Carole lived her life in the Glendale, La Cañada and Pasadena areas. She worked as an elementary school teacher in the Glendale Unified School District for over 20 years before entering retirement.

She completed her bachelor of science in education at University of Southern California in 1959, and thoroughly loved her days as a sorority member of Alpha Delta Pi.

While raising her family and teaching elementary school full time, she completed her master's degree in linguistics at the California State University Los Angeles in 1966. She was only one of a few reading specialists in the state of California during her tenure, and she successfully worked with students in greatest need.

She was an active member of the La Cañada Thursday Club and enjoyed her friendships developed at the clubhouse.

She is survived by her son Patrick Sheridan of Phoenix; her daughter Laurel Sheridan of Washington, D.C.; her son Phillip Sheridan of New York City; a granddaughter, Nicole Sheridan of Phoenix; daughter-in-kind Jane Pojawa of La Cañada; and her brother Thomas Johnston of Apple Valley.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made the Best Friends Animal Society Carole Sheridan Memorial Fund on line. The family may be contacted at

Copyright © 2019, La Cañada Valley Sun
EDITION: California | U.S. & World