John Charles Collins, of Duluth, died on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at home, surrounded by his family. He celebrated his 90th birthday on November 29, 2020.
John graduated from Central High School and attended UMD prior to enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. He was a military security officer stationed in Texas, England and Japan.
John met his “Mrs. C”, Eleanor (Moe), when they were both members of the choir at First Lutheran Church. They were married there 67 years ago on March 7, 1953.
Most of John’s career was involved with technology. Early on he worked at Duluth Avionics and was also an insurance adjuster. He sold photocopiers and telephone equipment. Later he serviced hospital dialysis and X-ray equipment. He was called out at all hours of the day or night for repairs. At one time, Eleanor responded to a 3:00 a.m. call with, “He’s sleeping and you should be too.” then hung up. The office waited a couple hours before calling back. He owned and operated one of the first computer stores in Duluth, Collins Computers.
John had many interests and hobbies. As a licensed amateur radio operator, he conversed with people around the world. He enjoyed dinner parties with friends and took up dancing in his 60's, and with Eleanor joined a dinner dance club. He built and flew model airplanes and piloted small aircraft. John learned to play bridge in his 80's and enjoyed playing in person and on line. His regular online partner lived in England.
John and Eleanor loved to travel taking many cross-country road trips and enjoyed fishing, camping, canoe trips, sightseeing and time at their cabin. In later years they traveled worldwide on numerous tours. Their travels included ocean, lake and river cruises in the U.S. and abroad.
John was very active in his church serving many roles including Chair of the Board of Operations, Treasurer of the FLC Foundation, soundboard operator and usher. He loved to interact with children, and at his last attendances at church gave youngsters rides in his electric wheelchair. He was very active in UMD’s University for Seniors as both a student and teacher. His course on British mystery films was a favorite of many and often requested. In 2007, he was honored with the “Confucius Award” for his efforts in updating the program’s AV and computer capabilities.
John had a teasing sense of humor, even late in his illness he joked with his nurses and caregivers.
John was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Ingeborg Collins; brother, Ralph; and sister, Mary Lou.
John is survived by his beloved “Mrs. C.”, Eleanor; children, Christine (Russell Kohnken) of Skokie, IL, Paul (Marian) of Hermantown, and David (Jill) of Bloomington; 6 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren, with a third on the way; and several nieces and nephews.
Interment will be at Sunrise Memorial Park in Hermantown. There will be a celebration of his life when it is safe to gather. Memorials preferred to First Lutheran Church Foundation, 1100 E. Superior St., Duluth, MN 55802.
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