Francis Collins (96) died peacefully Sunday, February 4, 2018. He was born on April 3, 1921 (4-3-2-1) in Wakefield New Hampshire, the oldest of the five children of Ida Evans (Collins) and James Collins. Shortly after his birth he moved to Newport, New Hampshire, where, except for his time in the army during World War II, he lived his entire life.
Francis graduated from Towle High School in 1939. In the fall after his graduation he worked for a sawmill, tallying lumber cut from trees downed in the Hurricane of 1938. Francis then worked as an electrician for Holland Electric in Newport and went on to become an industrial electrician at Gear Shaper in Springfield, Vermont. He joined the Army shortly after the start of World War II and was trained as a radio repairman in the Signal Corp. During the war he was stationed in England servicing the radios. As the front moved forward into France his company was transferred there where he served out the rest of the war.
Returning to Newport after the War he started Collins Electrical Service in 1945, which continues to be operated today by his son Robert and grandson Jeffrey. Around this same time, he met Nancy Elfstrom. They were married in 1948 and went on to raise four children. Nancy died in 1983. Francis never remarried.
As a lifelong resident of Newport his friends and acquaintances were many and varied and he remembered their names and encounters with them, in vivid detail, up until his passing. He was an avid hunter, fisherman, model airplane enthusiast and a lover of beagles and certain wire-haired terriers. He also had a strong passion for music. Francis was an accomplished gardener and his large expanse of gardens, fruit trees and blueberries fed family and friends. A longtime member and former post commander of the American Legion he also served on the Newport Budget Committee and Airport Commission for many years. He was a lifelong student and later in life began taking college courses, studying German and writing. After his retirement in 1988 he went on to become an accomplished cabinetmaker, sailor and a supporter of all things having to do with his children.
He is predeceased by his wife Nancy and survived by his sister, Martha DiNapoli, his children and their spouses, Diane and Don Winsor of Rumney NH, Don Collins and Cindy Taska of Lebanon NH, Robert and Cheryl Collins of Newport and Gary and Susan Collins of Salem, NH, as well as eight grand-children: Stacey Winsor of Rumney, NH, Shane Winsor of Brookline, NH, Christen Collins of Salt Lake City, UT, Joseph Collins Unruh of San Francisco, CA, Jeffrey Collins of Newport, NH and Gregory Collins of Santa Monica, CA, Elizabeth Collins of Saco, ME and Rebecca Collins of Durham, NH and two great-grand-children, Isaac and Jonah, and many nieces and nephews.
Francis will be remembered for his sharp dry wit, his long memory and his ability to be both contrary and lovable at the same time.
The family thanks the many care givers, in home and at Mount Ascutney Hospital, for their dedicated service and companionship. They also thank the meals that were provided by “Meals on Wheels”. In lieu of flowers a donation may be made on his behalf to the Newport, NH Meals on Wheels program.
Calling hours will be held on Saturday February 10, 2018 from 11 AM to 12 PM at Newton-Bartlett Funeral Home, 42 Main St. in Newport, with a memorial service starting at noon. A graveside service with military honors will immediately follow in North Newport Cemetery.