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Harry Anthony Collins


1936 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Harry Anthony Collins Obituary
Harry Anthony Collins March 6, 1936 - June 3, 2018 La Jolla/ Rancho Santa Fe Harry Anthony Collins passed away peacefully at his home in Rancho Santa Fe on June 3, 2018 surrounded by his family. He was 82.Harry was widely known as an exceptionally talented real estate developer and an active and generous community leader. He developed and invested in many residential and commercial properties during an illustrious career that spanned over six decades.Harry was born on March 6, 1936 in Des Moines, Iowa. He was one of six children born to Dr. Harry and Esther Collins. He attended St. Augustine Elementary School and Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. He had an entrepreneurial spirit from an early age and was an engineer at heart. He enjoyed building Soapbox Derby racers and rebuilding motorcycles and was constantly tinkering and always creating.Harry's family moved west to La Jolla in 1954. Harry was in his late teens, and leaving Des Moines meant selling his beloved Jeep. As a new student at La Jolla High School, one morning Harry saw a cute girl arrive at school in a Jeep. He later followed her home from the movies and asked her out to the Scarlet and Black Ball. Harry eventually married that girl, his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Judy Allen. Harry and Judy shared a love of tennis, horses, the great outdoors, and especially, spending time with family and friends.Harry graduated from Stanford University in 1958 with a degree in engineering. He was elected to the Tau Beta Society, the honorary engineering society. He lettered in swimming and played water polo. Harry was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Shortly after graduation, he joined Marble Mortgage Company in the San Francisco Bay Area and began a long career in real estate. Two years later, back in La Jolla, Harry began building custom homes. He subsequently founded Collins General Contractors, Collins Development Company, and La Jolla Development Company and developed many commercial and residential projects in both northern and southern California including apartments, shopping centers, industrial parks, commercial offices, senior housing, and signature hotels and resorts. Harry was known for his attention to detail and great respect for the communities in which he developed. Harry's favorite endeavors were with his best pal and father-in-law, Willis Allen. Among them was the iconic La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla. He was especially proud of his stewardship of the "Pink Lady," restoring and improving her throughout his ownership. He took special care in the restoration of the Whaling Bar, emphasizing its history and unique heritage. Harry and his family celebrated many special occasions at La Valencia over the years. In the late 80s, Harry created and opened Rancho Valencia Resort, a premier tennis destination. Rancho Valencia was Harry's happy place, his heart and soul. He also developed and ran the Eldorado Polo Club, Rancho Santa Fe Polo Club and the Rose Spur Polo Club. Harry loved what he did for a living, but he always made time to play. A good day for Harry was nine holes of golf, two sets of tennis and a 5 pm polo match. Harry served on many non-profit boards including the boards of The Dunn School and Santa Catalina School. He was the Chairman of the Board of Scripps Memorial Hospital, where he led the planning of the Scripps La Jolla campus as we see it today. Harry loved kids and all the mischief they created. He and Judy raised seven children, and welcomed with open arms and unconditional love 26 grandchildren, sharing with them their appreciation and fondness for adventure and the outdoors. They spent quality time with their family on their ranches in Julian, California, Kauai, Hawaii and Snowmass, Colorado. He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Judy Collins; his children: Cathy Geier (Brad), Chris Collins (Alice), Kim Dempsey (Pat), Laurie Chamberlain (Tom), Suzi Ricci (David), Kelly Petit (Hank), Peter Collins (Lisa); 26 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; brother, Robert Collins; and sisters, Mary Mulvihill and Ruth Kelly. Services will be held at 11 a.m. on June 28, 2018 at Nativity Catholic Church, 6309 El Apajo, Rancho Santa Fe. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Harry's memory to REINS Therapeutic Horsemanship Program, 4461 S. Mission Road, Fallbrook, CA 92028 (http://www.reinsprogram.org). Please sign the guest book online at legacy.com/obituaries/ lajollalight .
Published in the Rancho Santa Fe Review on June 14, 2018
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