Wallace J. "Wally" Collins, 89
Vero Beach, Florida, formerly of St. Cloud
April 5, 1924 ~ May 1, 2013
Wallace J. Collins (Wally), 89, of Vero Beach, passed away peacefully on Wednesay, May 1, 2013 at the VNA Hospice House surrounded by his family and loyal puppy Freddy.
Wally was born April 5, 1924 in St Paul MN to William and Mayme Collins.
Wally enlisted in the United States Air Force April 14, 1943 and was stationed in Northern France and Germany. During his service time he received the American Service Medal, as well as the Service Medal for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, a Good Conduct Medal and the prestigious Combat Air Medal. He was discharged November 8, 1945.
Wally began his career as a fire fighter for the St. Cloud Minnesota Fire Department in 1949. During his 25 years with the department he was promoted to City fire Inspector and retired in 1974 as an Assistant Fire Chief. In 1974 he became a Minnesota State Fire Marshall. In 1978 he was appointed to the newly created position of Assistant Director/State Fire Marshall Division. He retired May 31, 1981.
In the 40's Wally met his wife Virgie of 60 years and they had a son and three daughters. Wally's four children, five grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren loved him dearly. Wally was a passionate man who enjoyed spending time with them on the lakes in Avon & Cold Spring Minnesota fishing, golfing, singing & celebrating.
In 1981 Virgie & Wally moved to Vero Beach, Florida. During their years in Florida, Virgie and Wally developed many numerous close relationships that would eventually turn into their second family.
They loved spending time with friends and their adopted daughters and counseling them through good & bad times. You could always count on them to be 100% on your side. Virgie passed on March 8, 2006.
Wally was a member of the Treasure Coast Barbershop Chorus, volunteered with the Indian River Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and the VNA Hospice Thrift Shop.
In September 2010 Wally met the second love of his life, Mary McClean Collins. They married in June of 2011. Although their time together was brief they shared a deep love for one another. Wally's life was packed full of love, nurturing and immeasurable care given by Mary. Wally's final chapter was made the happiest it could be with Mary and his precious Freddy.
Wally leaves behind Mary, his wife, his son, Dan (Sheri) of Cottage Grove, MN and his three daughters Sheri Bitzan (Mike) of Avon, MN, Deb Schaaf (Jim) of Richmond, MN and Terri Hale (Jeff) of Vero Beach, FL, sister Patti Vigneau (Fran) of Cape Coral, FL and brother Roger Collins (Sandi) of Sarasota, FL. He was preceded in death by his wife Virgie, mother Mayme, brother Bob and sister Norein.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 3:00 pm on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at Our Savior Lutheran Church located at 1850 6th Avenue in Vero Beach, FL. In lieu of flowers Memorial contributions may be made the VNA Hospice House in Vero Beach, FL. Arrangements are under the direction of Cox Gifford Seawinds Funeral Home in Vero Beach, 772-562-2365 (coxgiffordseawinds.com).
Published in the St. Cloud Times on May 5, 2013