Miriam A. Collinson died on Oct. 27, 2023 at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis after a prolonged illness. She was 81.
The only daughter of Raymond E. and Rose (Enos) Martin, Miriam was born on July 26, 1942 in Provincetown, where she spent her entire life. As a young girl, she was known as a Conant Street “Cutie,” and she was a beloved friend and classmate to many, forming lifelong bonds.
Miriam attended the old Governor Bradford School in the West End and graduated from Provincetown High School in 1960. She served as her high school class secretary for four years. In the 1960 Long Pointer, she is listed under “Superlatives” twice: she was voted “Most Popular” and “Most Efficient.”
After graduation, Miriam was a dispatcher for the Provincetown Police Dept. when the station was in the town hall basement. She went to work for Robert Collinson at his newly opened Dunes Edge Campground in the mid 1960s. That decision changed her life.
Miriam and Bob married in 1972, and Dunes Edge became her life’s work. After Bob’s death in 1978, Miriam continued to operate the campground for over 40 years. She welcomed guests and their families to her woodland campsites at the edge of the Provincetown dunes. Many campers became an extended family for Miriam, and they continued their friendships with her long after her retirement.
In an online remembrance, Susan Lewis wrote, “My summers won’t be the same without her. Her house was like Grand Central. I’ve never known someone to have so many visitors.”
Joanne McBrien and Dan Sardo remembered Miriam’s “amazing parties on the back deck of her Truro home where she taught us how to blow a conch shell at sunset and helped us find our cottage in Provincetown.”
In later years, Miriam and her partner, Jim Buckingham, ran the campground in the summer and traveled in the winter. Those were the best of times for Miriam, as she loved seeing new places and having new adventures. Her travels took her across the country in a motorhome and then to Portugal in search of relatives.
When Miriam retired, the Dunes Edge Campground was acquired by the Trustees of Reservations. With support from the Provincetown Land Bank, the Community Preservation Fund, the state of Massachusetts, and private funders, Miriam’s legacy of providing access to nature through camping will continue for future generations.
In addition to operating the campground, Miriam served Provincetown in many capacities on various boards and committees. She was a lifelong communicant at St. Peter the Apostle Church, serving for many years in the St. Vincent De Paul Society.
She also had the warmest affection for her black lab, Danny. She could often be found walking with him at the beach or on the trails in Provincetown or Truro. With Miriam’s death, Provincetown has lost a treasured member of the community.
Miriam is survived by her sister-in-law, Lynne Kimball-Martin of Provincetown; her niece, Kirsten Lamattina, and husband Michael of Groveland, and their children Noelle, Nick, and Alex; her cousins Cynthia Doherty of Provincetown, Amanda Morris of Truro, Pam Medeiros of Chatham, Wesley Medeiros of Truro, Michael Medeiros of Truro, and Nancy Silva and husband Al of Truro; and by other family and dear friends.
She was predeceased by her parents; her brother, Stephen R. Martin; her husband, Robert Collinson; her partner, James Buckingham; and her dear friend William Von Der Heydt.
A Funeral Mass with be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11 at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Provincetown. The disposition of the ashes will happen at a date to be determined.
Donations in Miriam’s memory can be made to the Provincetown Rescue Squad, Box 109, Provincetown 02657 or to the Truro Fire Association, Box 88, Truro 02666. For online condolences, visit nickersonfunerals.com.