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Harold Collins

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Harold Collins, an architect who lent his land use and preservation expertise to Demarest, died Monday. He was 88.

Mr. Collins sat on the Demarest Planning Board for 40 years starting in 1959. He also had been a member of the Northern Valley Planning Association and the Demarest Historical Society.

He was a force in the preservation of two circa-1870s local landmarks: the railroad depot, now owned by the borough, and the Hardenburgh Avenue Bridge. "We are not doing it to look pretty it's a functional thing," Mr. Collins said in 1996 of the painstaking restoration of the bridge, which involved the removal of the stones supporting it.

"Harold Collins was Demarest," said James Carroll, a former mayor and former Bergen County freeholder. "The Planning Board was everything to him, and there aren't words to express his true romance with Demarest. It wasn't work to him; it was a labor of love."

Mr. Collins, a Republican member of the Borough Council in the 1970s, worked for 43 years for New York-based Swanke cq Hayden Connell Architects, whose restoration projects have included the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. Capitol.

The organization New Jersey Planning Officials, which represents planning and zoning boards, twice gave Mr. Collins its Achievement in Planning Award. And Demarest, thanking the World War II veteran for service to nation and borough, made Mr. Collins grand marshal of the 2005 Memorial Day parade.

Mr. Collins moved to Cedar Crest Village in Pompton PlainsPequannock in 2008, two years after the death of his wife, Elsie.

He is survived by his children, Kevin Collins of Park Ridge, Christopher Collins of Arlington, Va., and Katherine Lacotta of Tenafly, and five grandsons.

Visiting is today from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Barrett Funeral Home, Tenafly. Services will be held there Saturday at 11 a.m.

Published in The Record on Mar. 1, 2013
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