With profound sorrow, we announce the sudden passing of our son and brother Collin Wood Trench on September 11, 2021. He is survived by his father, W. Corey Trench, Jr., his mother, Suanne Shields Trench, his two older brothers, Robert Corey Trench and Philip Shields Trench, and a grandmother, June Shields. 

During this time of mourning, the family requests privacy. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to Hope Family Village, a public charity inspired by Collin, and dedicated to serving the concrete needs of caregivers and loved ones who endure serious mental illness. You can contribute either by mail (PO Box, 982, Williamsburg, VA 23187) or visit www.hopefamilyvillage.org and click the donate button.

Collin was born an old soul. Intensely curious, he sought to understand, appreciate and interpret this world. He framed his questions with purity and purpose. Without readily revealing his beliefs and opinions, he wanted to know yours, suspending judgement. 

Though born with club feet, he never let this impediment slow him down. Throughout his life, he never complained. He did the opposite. At great risk to himself, he attracted and imbibed the stories and pain of others, then would offer to help them. He could also share in their joy as if it were his own. He reflected an uncommon empathy for humanity, while privately pursuing his own ambitions and enduring struggles. Always he expressed his gratitude for help and support. He shunned being a burden to others. 

Collin loved animals (particularly cats) and they gravitated to him. He inherited this trait from his great, grandmother (Emily Wood,  her daughter, his grandmother (Margaret Trench Sawmiller) and through his father. 

As young boys, he and his brothers grew up in Upstate New York. In the back field of their home, they ran, played football, soccer, basketball, skated, golfed and climbed “the Danger Tree.” Made movies together under brother Corey’s direction. Lou the Cat watched it all. Collin loved soccer and football. His brother Phil encouraged him to play basketball, where he joined the older guys at Pleasant Street. He was the consummate teammate.

Brother Corey made this tribute to Collin.

When he discovered an interest, particularly later in his young life, he would dive into it and demonstrate an early mastery few could. Philosophy, logic, and quantum theory would capture his imagination.  He enjoyed puzzles, chess, drawing, and music. He was a modern day Renaissance man, who quietly roamed this plane without fanfare. A modest man, he lived with few wants and needs. Only independence and freedom.

Academically, he attended Onondaga Community College (2006 – 08), transferred to SUNY Canton, where he was enrolled in a new program, Alternate and Renewable Energy Systems, achieving the Dean’s List his first semester (2009). Later, he was selected to perform research for his advisor. Collin was a legacy student. His Great-grandfather, William Washington Trench attended St, Lawrence University, which back then included the Canton campus.

At 10 years old, he first expressed his desire to live alone, in the country, with no mail box. At 14, he received his working papers and immediately went to work helping the elderly. He dreamed of purchasing and owning a car, which he would accomplish by 19. He fulfilled his intent to live alone and be independent. By then, he had realized the necessity of having a mailbox. 

All the while, Collin stayed true to his nature. He never stopped his inquiry. He kept learning. He kept listening to and helping other people. He set an example of courage and kindness for all of us to emulate.

He was a warm, gentle soul to those who knew him best. A younger brother who kept his older siblings in check with love and laughter.

Comments (13)

  1. Melissa Lewis

    I am so sorry for your loss! My thought and prayers are with you and your family.

  2. Chris Davis

    Corey and Suzy, I am profoundly saddened by Collin’s passing. I know he had your loving and total support. This is just incomprehensible to us as parents.. My hope for your whole family is peace in your hearts and floods of happy memories, as your beautiful Memorial describes Collin’s spirit and gifts to this world.
    Bless you and keep you in God’s Grace.

  3. Rebecca Schell

    Suzy and family,
    I am so sorry for your tremendous loss. You are all in my thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.

  4. Bruce Ario

    I knew “of” Colin, but didn’t know his complexity although most people with mental illness are complex. Feeling so sad about your loss. It grieves me that this happens to the best people. It certainly came close to happening to me, but I know there is nothing anyone could have done to help me through. Corey, I know that you were there for him, but sometimes fate is cruel and unfair. So sorry it happened to a nice guy like you, and a brilliant man like Colin. Take your time to mourn the loss.

    • Rachael Bennett

      I’m thinking of you during this difficult time. I am so sorry.

  5. Richard Jones

    Corey I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I know how much you dedicated your life to helping your boys, loving them. You have given your all to others in need. Call me if you would like to talk or if I can do anything for you or your family.

  6. Maureen Strongin

    Dear Corey and Suzy,
    I am shocked and saddened by this news. The work you do on behalf of families dealing with mental illness has and will stand as a tribute to your love for your son. There are things in this world that exceed our understanding. I hope it helps in some small way to know the powerful wellspring of love and admiration that this news has engendered. I never met your son but I know you both. He must have been very special 💔

  7. Tiffany Dormire

    I am so very sorry for the loss of Collin. I am praying for your family every day.

  8. Sandra Mottesheard

    Dear Corey and Suzy,
    Such a tragedy in his time of being a light in the world. Unfortunately I never got to meet him but realized his delightfulness through your stories. I wish you both a gentle peace as you go through this terrible grief. His light will stay in the hearts of those he left behind. Love and prayers for you both as well as your family..


    Corey and Family,
    My friend I follow your post from time to time and always find inspiration from them. This post was yet another eye opener for me in my life. Let me first say I am sorry for the loss of your son and brother. He certainly seemed to understand that the world needs more love. I ask my self often why is it so hard for us to simply share love with each other. I have lost two nephews to mental illness in the last few years and one was in August. I miss their smiles and their faces. May God Bless you and your family.

  10. Deborah Worstell

    Corey and family, I have just learned of Collin’s passing. There are no words to say how terribly sorry I am for your loss. Through your stories of all your boys, I know just how loved and special each of them are to you Na Suzy. Know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers for peace and comfort. May your fond and fun memories get you through this overwhelming time.

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