The remarkable 91 years of Joseph Patrick Collins came to an end on November 2nd as surrounded by family and friends, we said goodbye to a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle and good friend to so many.
He was born in Queens, New York to William and Carolyn Collins (nee Thomas) and where he developed his story for 45 years before moving on to St. Louis, retiring to Polson, with a final move to Missoula.
He was one of five children, growing up in Middle Village, Queens. He enjoyed a good game of stick ball or stoop ball and helping his parents. Dad attended Chaminade High School on Long Island, one of his many accomplishments and was a proud Alumni. He loved conversations with anyone of the Chaminade system. Joe studied business and retail at New York University night school while he worked during the day for JC Penney (to his last days he could still name the JC Penney store number if you mentioned a city that had one). He moved up from a buyer position through the ranks to becoming an executive and was hired by the Kellwood Company, with this promotion, the family moved to St. Louis. He served first as Corporate Vice President for Kellwood Company, and then, President and CEO of the Ashley’s Outlet division, with over 150 stores; he ran Ashley for 12 years before his “retirement”.
His next years in retirement would be spent doing what would turn out to be some of his best work, helping those who needed assistance with financial planning. He began this second career by planning out his own father’s financial plan, then for a dear friend Phyllis and her family. This changed the course of the rest of his life. Once word got out, he would be introduced to many friends, and those that would become dear friends. They benefited from his vast knowledge of the ability to write a good working budget and spending analysis! Spending analysis was his favorite term and was a passion he loved until the very end.
Dad and Mom were married September 25, 1955 and were together almost 62 years prior to Grace’s death in 2017. We have tremendous memories of being raised as family of six. We, as children and into adulthood were blessed by their love, understanding, and guidance; they were role models as to how to live. Their family grew to having 14 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren with number 13 arriving in 2023. We had some amazing times in Lake George every summer, where Dad spent countless hours behind the wheel of his beloved wooden boat he had built with a neighbor from Massapequa Park. Dad pulled water skiers until everyone had a chance to ski. Dad and Mom made hundreds of friends over the years, and everyone enjoyed good times with Joe and Gracie on Wilson St, Shoreham Rd, Agusta Dr, and Mission Bay Drive.
Dad was a constant learner and hard worker, always reading to better his knowledge. These were traits he was passed on from his parents and in turn passed on to all of us. We always admired him for his willingness to give to others who needed help and make sure everyone had what they needed. Dad did not just give monetarily to dozens of foundations and non-profits over the years, he rolled up his sleeves and often joined in with Mom to volunteer for those in need. After Grace passed, he continued to volunteer into his 80’s for the Ronald McDonald House in Missoula with their campaigns.
Giving to others was so incredibly important to Dad. He loved watching golf, football, hockey, and baseball, and anytime you went into the house he was always up to date on the stats and ready to share them with you.
Joe was truly a man with a heart of gold and the strength of a lion who fought to live, but it was time for him to go back to Mom and the whole crew of loved ones in heaven.
Dad was preceded in death by his wife Grace of almost 62 years, his daughter-in-law Bernadette Collins, son-in-law Russ McKinnon, brothers Willie and Gerry, and sister Colette.
He is survived by his sister Bernadette Maurer, brother-in-law Robert Weiner, children Moe (Carson) Coryell, Kevin Collins (Margaret), Tim (Susan) Collins, and Katy McKinnon, plus his grandchildren Michelle (JJ), Mike (Heidi), Maggie (Luke), Noelle (Mark), Stuart (Annie), Alli (Erik), Meagan (Noah), and Rian. His 12 (almost 13 -player to be named later) great grandchildren, and a multitude of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Dad we will honor the incredible life you lived, remember the love you were always willing to give, and everything you taught us about being eager to learn and help others. We Love You and Thank You.
A special Thank You to his longtime physician Dr. Caldwell, his many home health workers, notably Precious who bonded with “Mr. Joe” in the last few weeks of his life, and especially to our sister Moe who gave up her own life to care for every need our Dad had in his last few months with us.
Visitation and Rosary will be held on Thursday, November 10th from 6:00-8:00 pm at St Francis Xavier Church. A Mass of Catholic Burial will be held at St Francis Xavier Church on Friday, November 11th at 1:00 pm. A private family inurnment of his ashes will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to St Francis Xavier Church, the Ronald McDonald House of Western MT, or the Chaminade HS Torch Fund in Mineola, NY, all of which were very close to dad’s heart. The Mass will be livestreamed on the St. Francis Xavier’s Website and online condolences may be left at gardencityfh.com.