Richard F. Collins Sr., 82
CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — Richard F. Collins Sr. passed away on Wednesday Feb. 15, 2017, at his home on Chebeague Island, surrounded by his loving family and Ginny Ballard, P.A.
He was born the second of three children to Priscilla and James Collins Sr. on Dec. 30, 1934, in Portland.
A jack-of-all trades who loved working with his hands, Dick’s first carpentry project was a two-story club house at his childhood home on Munjoy Hill. He also repaired bicycles and delivered the Portland evening and Sunday newspaper, winning trips to New York City due to his strong work ethic. He loved being on the water, fishing, and rowing out to Fort Gorges in his 14-foot rowboat. Actively involved at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Dick was an altar and choirboy and eventually served on the Board of Trustees. He attended the Dorothy Mason School of Dance to learn tap, and played his beloved accordion in addition to the trumpet for his school band. His mother made his costumes for his performances, which he loved.
At the age of 15, Dick quit high school and joined the Marine Corps, but was honorably discharged a year and a half later when they found out he was underage. Upon return from the military, Dick worked as a mechanic in Ben Minor's shop, a machine shop, and eventually the New England Telephone Company garage. At the age of 18, he married and had three children. Dick soon realized that he needed a high school diploma to advance his career out of the garage, and so defying all odds, he returned to Portland High School as a full-time student for three years while supporting his wife and two children at the time. In addition to school and working second shift full-time, he also completed the remainder of his military term in the Air National Guard and was again honorably discharged. Upon graduation in 1958, Dick was promoted to a cable splicer and installer.
In 1983, he retired from the New England Telephone Company after 30 faithful years.
In 1964, he married Audrey E. Hamilton of Chebeague Island and they spent 53 wonderful years together. They enjoyed square dancing, traveling, golfing, bowling, shuffleboard (winning trophies), playing games and eating out with friends. Dick was an avid cribbage player and could easily skunk anyone. As they approached retirement, they built their dream home together on Chebeague Island. This was Dick’s third house that he built over the course of his life. They retired to Florida in the winter and spent summers on their beloved Chebeague Island, where Dick worked as a lobsterman, carpenter, excavator and volunteered on the fire and rescue department. He was involved in the Chebeague Island United Methodist Church and various building and painting projects to contribute to the island. Throughout his life, he volunteered with Boy Scouts and belonged to the Masons and Scottish Rites.
Often seen by fellow islanders on his John Deere tractor, Dick was known for his love for people, sense of humor, tenacity, integrity and loyalty that touched all who knew him. Although Parkinson’s disease eventually took Dick’s life, it could not extinguish his determined spirit. Dick leaves a strong legacy of excellence and commitment to the people around him with the sound of his hearty laugh reverberating in our hearts forever.
He is survived by his wife, Audrey; his children, Kim Secord of Sebago, Richard Collins Jr. of Windham and Terry Stevens of Falmouth; seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and his sister, Beverly Collins of Portland.
He was predeceased by his brother, James Collins Jr. of Connecticut.
A visitation will be held at Lindquist Funeral Home, 1 Mayberry Lane in Yarmouth, on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 1 to 4 p.m. A celebration of Dick’s life will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Chebeague Island United Methodist Church, at 1 p.m., followed by a reception at the Island Hall. Please see the Lindquist Memorial link to Richard Collins for transportation details. www.lindquistfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Chebeague Island Commons Assisted Living, 132 Littlefield Rd., Chebeague Island, ME 04017, or Chebeague Island United Methodist Church, 258 North Rd., Chebeague Island, ME 04017.