Samuel Wilson Collins Jr., 88
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ROCKLAND -- Samuel Wilson Collins Jr., 88, died peacefully at home on March 22, 2012, surrounded by his beloved wife of 59 years, Dorothy, and his loving family.
Collins was born on the first day of the potato harvest, Sept. 17, 1923, in Caribou, the oldest of four sons to Samuel Wilson Collins and Elizabeth Black Collins. As a young man in Caribou, Collins picked potatoes during the annual harvest. An avid gardener throughout his adult life, he always had a bountiful garden.
Collins was president of his high school class, helped on his grandfather's farm and worked at the family business, SW Collins Lumber Company. During high school, he also worked for NYNEX, going from street to street checking that telephone lines were in working order, confirming phone numbers and addresses for the telephone book, and earning $25.00 per week.
After graduating from Caribou High School, he attended the University of Maine at Orono graduating a year early due to WWII. After college, Collins went to work for the War Department in Arlington, Va., where he did Army intelligence work. As the war ended, Collins attended Harvard Law School and received his J.D. in 1947.
Though offered a job to clerk for the Massachusetts Supreme Court, Collins wanted to return to Maine and accepted a position in Rockland, where he would practice law for 40 years. He joined the firm of Alan Bird and later became senior partner of Collins, Crandall, Hanscom and Pease. In 1988, he was appointed to the Maine Supreme Court by Governor John McKernan. He served as an Associate Justice for six years and in 1994 transitioned to Active-Retired Justice status and continued to serve.
Active in the Republican Party, Collins followed in his father's footsteps and was elected to the Maine Senate in 1975, serving for 10 years. He shepherded through the adoption of several important law revisions including the Maine Probate Code and the Maine Criminal Code. He was elected by his Republican peers to serve as Senate Majority leader. He also had the privilege of serving in the Maine Senate with his brother, Donald F. Collins of Caribou.
After settling in Rockland, Collins became active in many civic organizations. While serving on the School District Board of Trustees, he suggested to the superintendent that he hire more female teachers The new home economics teacher was Dorothy Murray Small from Bath and, in less than a year, they were married. In 1954, they built a home on Samoset Road where they raised their three children in a wonderful, close-knit neighborhood. Collins built a small camp on Megunticook Lake in Camden where the family spent their summers and he became involved with the Megunticook Watershed Association, serving twice as President and once as Vice President.
Collins was active in the Universalist Church of Rockland for 65 years, serving as Board Chairman and Superintendent of the Church School for 15 years as well as president of the Universalist Churches of Maine and president of the
Northeast District of the Universalist/Unitarian Association. He served on the School District Board from 1952-60 during which time the North and South Schools and the Morrill Athletic Field were built. He was a past member of the Rockland Jaycees and was active in the Rockland Rotary Club until his death. He was honored by Rotary as a three-time Paul Harris Fellow and was president of Rotary in 1957-58.
Collins was a founding member of the Maine Lobster Festival and served as the Grand Marshall of the parade in 2009. Collins served as President of the Rockland Cemetery Association for 20 years. He was a past president of the Board of Pen Bay Medical Center from 1985-87 and a member of the hospital's Osprey Club. He was a longtime member of the B&B's Investment group and was a member of the American Bar Association, the Maine Bar Association and the Maine Bar Foundation.
Collins enjoyed traveling to many countries with his wife and in later years, they spent 16 winters in Green Valley, Ariz.
In addition to his wife, Dorothy, Collins is survived by his son, Edward Murray Collins of Camden, his daughter, Elizabeth Collins Macomber and her husband Jon of Beverly, Mass., his daughter, Diane Collins Field and her husband Sumner of Gray, and his AFS son, Bandula daSilva of Sri Lanka. He was predeceased in 1959 by his infant son, Peter Donald Collins; and also predeceased by his brothers, H. Douglas Collins and David A. Collins. Other surviving family members include his brother and sister-in-law, Donald and Patricia Collins of Caribou, sister-in-law, Barbara Lebel of Bath; grandchildren, Justin Samuel Coffin and his wife Briana of Rockland, Jane Rose Collins of Brooklyn, N.Y., Samuel Wilson Collins of Camden, Emma Madolyn Collins of Camden, Abigail Elizabeth Goodridge of San Diego, Calif., Zachary Andrew Field of Gray, Caitlin Margaret Field of Gray, Trevor Thomas Macomber and his wife Kelly of Sandy Hook, Conn., Laura Elizabeth Macomber of Brooklyn, N.Y.; great-grandchild, Viola Mae Coffin of Rockland; and many nieces and nephews. The family is grateful for the compassionate care provided by the staff of Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care & Hospice.
Visiting hours will be held from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 30, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland. Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of life and luncheon at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, at the Samoset Resort, 220 Warrenton St., Rockport. The Rev. Mark Glovin will officiate. To share a memory or condolence with the Colllins' family, please visit his online guest book at obituaries at www.bchfh.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorial
contributions may be made to:
Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation
22 White St.
Rockland, Maine 04841
The First Universalist
Church of Rockland
Rockland, Maine 04841
or the Rockland Rotary
P.O. Box 1811
Rockland, Maine 04841
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Mar. 24, 2012