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William COLLINS Obituary
William (Bill) E. Collins, PhD, MSc, born July 9, 1929, grew up in Lansing, Michigan. After obtaining his Bachelors and Masters degrees at Michigan State, he completed his PhD in entomology at Rutgers University, and was then drafted into the US Army in October 1954 and assigned to the Biological Warfare Laboratories at Fort Detrick, Maryland. While stationed there, he met Janet Johnson, and they were married in July of 1956. He later joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Columbia, SC where he had the honor of working with several of the great malariologists of the mid 20th century - Martin D. Young, G. Robert Coatney, and Geoffrey M. Jeffery. In 1973, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) hired Dr. Collins as part of a major research program developed to study human and monkey malaria parasites in both New and Old World monkeys. Collins then became part of the new Malaria Branch at CDC, where he spent the next four decades working with malaria, mosquitoes, and monkeys. Describing his work, Dr. Collins said, "It is an ongoing discovery. It is continually new, and [the parasites] continually change." His respect and awe for the organism he studied was apparent. He called their structure "beautiful." Collins did research with many species of malaria parasites, particularly Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, and P. simium. "We learn from all the parasites," he said. Collins was also honored to have a subspecies named for him, Plasmodium vivax collinsi. Throughout the years, Collins stacked up plenty of memories and milestones. Not only did he author more than 450 scientific publications, he was the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the Joseph Augustin LePrince Medal from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (1985), the William C. Watson, Jr. Medal of Excellence from CDC (2001), and the Harry Hoogstraal Medal from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2009), which recognizes lifelong service to medical entomology. Bill retired on July 1, 2013, after nearly 59 years of continuous government employment. Regarding his career, he said, "The most memorable event was when I completed my 50 years with the government and audio-visual people made a video of my accomplishments. However, the most important and favorite memories are of coworkers and friends. I looked upon all of them as family, and anyone who has seen my office knows that my office wall is covered with collages of pictures of these current and former coworkers. I miss them all." Says Dr. Larry Slutsker, Director of the Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, "Bill Collins is a consummate scientist, and his career has been an inspiration to those working in malaria. His decades-long joy in and commitment to his work, marked by extraordinary enthusiasm, curiosity, and scientific rigor, have brought him richly deserved international recognition as one of the world's leading malaria parasite biologists. His excellence has been matched with rare humility and a consistent desire to share his science with others to achieve his overriding goal - an end to malaria." Bill Collins passed away on September 28, 2013. He is survived by his wife Janet, his daughter Sheila, son Bill, daughter-in-law Erin, and grandchildren Mackenzie and Chloe. Friends and colleagues are invited to a join us for a Celebration of Life on Sunday, October 6th, from 2pm -5pm, at St. Marlo Country Club, 7755 St. Marlo Country Club Parkway, Duluth, GA 30097. Please sign the online guest-book at www.fischerfuneralcare.com. Arrangements by Fischer Funeral Care of Atlanta, 678-514-1000.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Oct. 1, 2013
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