William, a retired pipefitter from New York, was still alive after Katrina did its damage to their Back Bay home.
William Collins, 60, was airlifted to Nashville, Tenn., the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall. He died two months later in a coma from chemical burns he got in the water near his Back Bay home while struggling through the surge with his wife, who died the day of the storm.
Judy Collins' sister, Jo-Ellyn Elliott of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, said her late brother-in-law should by all means and in all counts be considered a Katrina victim.
"I think it's extremely important that people know exactly the extent of the catastrophe," Elliot said. "I'm sure there's a lot of victims that are in the same situation that Willie was.
William, 60, was an avid fisherman whose passion for fishing brought Judy and him to Biloxi.
After Judy's fall, he devoted his time to caring for her.
"He cared for my sister, and he loved her," Elliott said. "He did the best he could...
They thought they would be safe when they stayed. They never dreamed that would be a problem."