RAY W. COLLINS JR., MD

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RAY W. COLLINS JR., MD - June 20, 1914 - Sept. 14, 2013 MIDDLEBURY - Middlebury lost one of its best last Saturday. Ray was born in Brookline, Mass., on June 20, 1914, to Ray and Lillian Collins, while Ray Sr. was still pitching for the Boston Red Sox. They moved to Colchester, Vt., in 1915 to operate the family farm. While growing up, he helped his father on the farm and raised chickens. Ray attended elementary school in Colchester, and graduated from Burlington High School in 1931. At the University of Vermont he was a member of the Delta Psi fraternity, and participated in track. He graduated in 1935 with a BS degree in premedical science. After graduation from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 1938, he completed a one-year rotating internship at Waterbury (Connecticut) Hospital in 1939. It was during this time he met Elizabeth Rinaldi who was in nurses training. Ray moved to New York City, where at St. Francis Hospital he completed a six-month residency in pediatrics and obstetrics. He married Elizabeth in 1940, and stayed at St. Francis Hospital for two years of training in general surgery. From January 1942 to September 1945, he served as an Army surgeon on troop transport ships both in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. He returned to his surgical training at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Surgery until June 1946, and then spent two years completing a teaching fellowship in surgery at University of Vermont. Ray started a surgical practice in Burlington, but also traveled weekly to Middlebury to perform surgeries there. In 1952, he moved his young family permanently to Middlebury where he lived until he died. Known affectionately as "Doc," Dr. Collins was Middlebury's first fulltime surgeon. Throughout his career, spanning well into his 70's, he was an active force in Porter Hospital's management and development. The building which housed his office, was named the Ray W. Collins Building in his honor. During his decades in Middlebury, he was very active in community life. He was a charter member of the Lion's Club in 1952, and in January 2013 received a pin honoring his 60-year membership. He was a member of the Congregational Church. Ray's strong support of education and physical education was demonstrated by his serving on the Union District #3 School Board from 1955 to 1978, holding the position as chairman from 1968 to1978. He was such a strong force in building the current football athletic field, including personally handpicking stones off the newly seeded field, that in 1980 the facility was named the Dr. Ray W. Collins Field. Ray was known in town as a "fund raiser extraordinaire," raising funds for Porter Hospital, the American Cancer Fund, the American Heart Fund, University of Vermont, UVM College of Medicine, and of course selling loads of calendars for the Lions Club's big fundraiser. He created the Ray W. Collins Family Scholarship Fund at UVM to help young Vermonters afford a college education in the nursing and health sciences. His services were recognized over the years by many awards: 1960 - Paul Harris Rotary Club Award for distinguished service; 1967 - State Medical Society Robins Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Physician; 1980 - UVM Physician of the Year; 1983 - the Rotary Club Award for Contribution of Community Life; 1993 - the A. Bradley Soule Award for "loyalty and dedication to the UVM College of Medicine;" 1998 - Distinguished Service Award presented by the UVM Alumni Association; 1998 - Melvin Lions Award from the Lions International; and 2000 - Middlebury College Bicentennial Medal Award in recognition of his distinguished contribution to the Middlebury community. When asked in the waning years of his life what award was the most cherished, it was the Master's Breeders Award he received in 1988 from the Eastern Holstein Friesian Association for recognition of his skill in breeding his outstanding herd of Registered Holsteins and his Grand Champion Holstein at the Eastern States Exposition. Most people didn't know of Ray's interest in the genetics of breeding Holsteins on the family Colchester farm, which be bought in 1960. Throughout his surgical career, Dr. Collins touched the lives of many, if not most, local families. Rumor has it he never got ticketed all the times he was stopped for speeding by the state troopers because he had taken care of someone in their family. After Ray retired, he lived out his senior years in his home tending to his big vegetable garden, volunteering and fund raising, playing bridge and always looking for a foursome, bowling until the alley closed, learning how to cross country ski at the age of 80 and having his own "named" resting spot in the Bread Loaf cross country ski rental shop, frequent visits to the farm of John McKinley in New Haven, and apple picking at Dr. Ted Collier's apple orchard in Cornwall. Throughout his years, Ray demonstrated his love for his work, his community, his family, and how to live life to its fullest. Ray lost his beloved wife, Elizabeth, of 69 years in September 2009. He is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth "Betsy" Mack and husband, Lewis Noble, of Granby, Conn., Louise Boutwell and husband, "Reg," of Randolph, N.Y., and Nancy Collins, MD and husband, Brian Mahoney, MD, of North Oaks, Minn.; grandchildren, Betsy Anne Vinton, PhD and husband, Griff, of Rochester, N.Y., Katie Mahoney, MD of Minneapolis, Minn., Meredith Mahoney Sinkeviciene, PsyD and husband, Armintas Sinkevicius, of New York, N.Y., and Dan Mahoney of Milwaukee, Wis.; great-grandchildren, Elizabeth, Audrey, and Natalie Vinton, of Rochester, N.Y.; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sisters, Marjorie Collins Ryan, Janet Collins Jenks Rhoades, and Dorothy Collins Whitney; and brother, Warren. The family of Ray Collins wishes to express their heartfelt thanks and grateful appreciation to Evelyn Devoid, the caregivers of Happy Hearts (Robin Jackson, Diane Many, Diane Brown, Judy Charlebois, Penny Molton, Mindy Hammond and Rebecca Morrisette) for their devoted attention and loving care of Ray for the past four years, and to the Hospice nurses, especially Stephanie Stoddard. There will be no services at this time. The date of a memorial service for both Ray and Elizabeth will be announced in the future for the summer of 2014. Arrangements are under the direction of Sanderson-Ducharme Funeral Home, 117 S. Main St., Middlebury. Online condolences may be expressed at www.sandersonfuneralservice.com. In lieu of flowers, Ray requested memorial contributions be given to the Ray W. Collins Jr., Family Scholarship Fund, c/o UVM Development and Alumni Relations, 411 Main St., Burlington, VT 05401-3470.

Funeral Home
Sanderson Funeral Service - Middlebury
117 South Main Street  Middlebury, VT 05753
802-388-2311
Funeral Home Details
Published in The Burlington Free Press on Sept. 17, 2013
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