Remembering “CJ” Judi Collins

(Photo contributed by CJ Collins family)

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou

Once in a while, someone enters your life and enhances it in an extraordinary way. CJ Collins was that type of person.

Judi C. Preuss DC was known as CJ Collins to her friends and patients. Along with her husband, Victor, she ran Collins Chiropractic nestled in Old Town on Fourth Street. Seven years previously, they had a practice in Santa Cruz before moving to Clovis and caring for patients during the past sixteen years at the Old Town location. 

Julie Herring, the former Barbara’s Boutique owner, got to know CJ during that time.

“CJ and Victor were both amazing chiropractors,” said Herring. “The store was just down the street from her office, and CJ would come by… she called it her happy place. We got to know each other over the years. If one of us were going through something, we’d hold each other up. I heard other people say when you’re going through something, she’d be 100% your champion.”

Her patients loved CJ. She was a great listener, “truly a phenomenal friend, confidant, supporter, and cheerleader,” shared one patient. She was always there to give support.

“I take care of people. That’s what I do,” she told local author Linda Gannaway. “Be the one who gives love.”

The encouragement she showed to her patients carried over to other facets of her life.

CJ loved writing, worked in publishing, and excelled in editing. She was instrumental in helping several local authors in getting their books published. In writers’ groups, she offered encouragement and positive suggestions.

Award-winning local writer, Kathi Morris, was one of those authors.

“CJ was in a class of her own,” says Morris, who met CJ in Janice Stevens’ Writing for Publication workshop. “Her critiquing was stellar. She taught us how to bring our pages to life through dialogue, scenes, and sensory details. She held my hand every step of the way. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if it weren’t for CJ.”

Morris’s book, We Were the Morris Orphans, will be out later this year. At the 2019 San Francisco Writers Conference, a submitted portion of the book won a finalist spot in the Non-fiction/memoir category.

CJ was raised by her parents, Charles E. and Judith E. Preuss, on the Preuss Peach Ranch, on Minnewawa and Shepherd in Clovis. She attended Dry Creek Elementary, where she was very active in 4-H, specializing in Equine Studies and Gardening.

CJ graduated from Clovis High School, class of 1982, in the top 20 and from Lake Erie College, Suma Cum Laude. In high school and college, she competed in Equine Three Day Eventing Competitions.

In 1990, CJ graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic West. It was while attending Palmer College she met her husband, Victor Collins, DC.

After a recurrent illness, CJ, 57, passed away on April 29, 2021.

“She left us with a loss of words,” says Morris. “She wouldn’t like that.”