Groton - Roland Collins, 74, of Groton, passed away Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, at Yale-New Haven Hospital, surrounded by his loving family.
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He was born in North Kingston, R.I., on July 29, 1938, the son of Elphege J. "Al" and Laurette (Martin) Collin, who migrated from Canada. Roland attended local schools in Rhode Island and in 1959, began a boxing career with Ayoho Boxers of Coventry, R.I. His boxing coach was Larry MacManus. Roland's boxing matches were known as â€˜action packed' as fans watched his lightning left jab. Roland won several trophies in the Diamond Belt AAU. He went on to the Golden Gloves Title match and had the fight won â€˜by a country mile', but referee Clancy Yates stopped the match due to a severe cut over Roland's right eye. The match was at the top of his career that brought fans to their feet. Roland's goal was to go on and participate in the Olympics, instead he chose to marry Joyce M. Prygocki who was from Bay Shore, New York in April of 1960 and started a family.
Roland then went on to work with his uncles to learn the carpentry trade on new home construction in Long Island and later on in Staten Island, N.Y. The late uncles, Norman, Guy and Conrad Martin also came to this country from Canada and later settled in Long Island.
Roland then relocated to Groton and was employed for a short period of time with General Dynamics in the carpentry department. He then decided to establish his own carpentry business, Roland Construction Co. of Groton, and was in business for over 30 years before deciding to retire. He was also a member of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut.
Roland was an active communicant of Sacred Heart Church in Groton and enjoyed participating in St Edmunds Enders Island Men's Retreat at Mystic. Roland in 2010, also enjoyed traveling with Father Darius Dudzik and The Sacred Heart Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was able to see Tiberias and Jerusalem. In 2012, he traveled to Rome, Italy and was able to be in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI, along with touring the Vatican, Sorrento, Capri, Mt. Etna and Pacerno. Traveling with the Church always brought a smile to his face. Family was also important to him and he would always find time for them. He will be greatly missed by his two sons.
Roland is survived by his sons, Wayne J. and his wife, Diane (Beale) Collins, and his only granddaughter, Jenna Lynn Collins, all of Waterford, and Robert R. Collins of New London; a brother, Gerald Collin of Gales Ferry; and a sister, Lorraine Turnquist and her husband, Thomas, of Ledyard, and their son Erick of Boston; as well as several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by an uncle, Gerard, of Maine; and a great aunt, Sister Cecile Daigle of Canada.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, at Sacred Heart Church, Sacred Heart Drive, Groton. Interment will be in Elm Grove Cemetery, Mystic. Visitation will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, at Byles-Groton Memorial Home, 310 Thames St. Donations in Roland's memory may be made to Sacred Heart Church, Sacred Heart Drive, Groton, CT 06340.
Please visit www.byles.com to leave a condolence note for the family or for directions.
Byles-Groton Memorial Home - Groton
310 Thames St. Groton, CT 06340
860 445 4844
Published in The Day on Sept. 2, 2012