TILTON - Joseph G. Collins Sr., 89, passed away peacefully Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 in the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton.
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Joseph was born in Whitman, Mass., May 15, 1923 to Elwood and Ethel Collins. He married Ruth, his childhood sweetheart and they began their family after Joe returned from service in the Pacific theater during WWII. He worked as a rigger for several years, striking out on his own with the unwavering support of Ruth in 1956 to found Collins Crane and Rigging Service. What began with one truck, hard work and from their home in Whitman, Mass., Collins Crane and Rigging grew to its current location in East Bridgewater, Mass., operated by Joe's sons. He also spent a period of time in semi-retirement in Yarmouth, Mass. before settling in Newport, then New London until 2003. Joe resided in Springfield for eight years before moving to the New Hampshire Veterans Home in 2011.
In 1987 he fulfilled his childhood dreams of owning draft horses. Many residents of New London may remember his wagon, or sleigh, or two wheeled buggy rolling down Main Street with his team of horses. He immensely enjoyed driving his horses in parades, going to fairs and working at weddings. He was a founding member of the East Bridgewater Commercial Club as well as a founding member, along with his brother Stan Collins of the VFW in Whitman, Mass. A member of the Mason's for over 50 years and a founding member of the Granite State Draft Horse Club over 25 years ago. In his free time he loved working his team of horses as well as snowmobiling in the winter and boating in the summer with his family and friends. He and Ruth also enjoyed traveling by motorcycle with friends. His proudest accomplishments were his family and his business.
He is predeceased by his wife of 63 years, Ruth E. (Cobbett) Collins in the year of 2004. He is also predeceased by his twin sister, Doris Parker, and his sister, Edna Vallancourt as well as his brother Stanley Collins.
He leaves his seven loving children, Carol A. Rapp of Walden, N.Y., Joseph G, Collins, Jr. of Brownsville, Vt. and Ogden, Utah, Jane E. King of New London, Phillip E. Collins, of Bridgewater, Mass., Susan Peirce of Georges Mills, Steven E. Collins of Middleboro, Mass., and Peter A. Collins of West Bridgewater, Mass. He also had 18 wonderful grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. He is also survived by a sister, Evelyn Anderson of Abington, Mass., a sister-in-law, Lois Buckley of Rochester, Mass., many nieces, nephews and cousins.
If two things were to sum up Joe's character, they would be his love for family and friends, and his enjoyment of horses. He will be remembered fondly for his love of people and life, sadly missed by friends and family, happily reunited with his biggest joy and love of his life, Ruth…
Friends may call Friday, February 8, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Chadwick Funeral Home, 235 Main Street, New London.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, February 9, at 11 a.m., at the Union Congregational Church in East Bridgewater, Mass.
Burial will follow in Beaver Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association, P.O. Box 2209, New London, NH 03257 or to the NH Veterans Home, 139 Winter Street, Tilton, NH 03276.
Published in The Concord Monitor on Feb. 5, 2013