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John Edward Collins
(June 19, 1927 - November 20, 2012)

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John Edward Collins

John Edward COLLINS

Born June 19, 1927 in Concrete; died November 20, 2012 at Skagit Valley Hospital, Mount Vernon, surrounded by family. Survived by Sara, his loving wife of 62 years; children John Jr. “Jake,” Nicholas (Amy), Jeanie Boddy (Gary), Casey (Lynn), Andrew, Monica Manning (Joseph), Theresa, Matthew (Angela), William (Lizette), Paul, Timothy (Joanna), Daniel (Elizabeth), David (Sarah), Maria Lowery (Carter), 35 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by his parents Edward John Collins (Edna Mellison), sister Josephine Wilson, and daughter Suzanne Louise.

John attended Immaculate Conception School, Everett, St. Martin’s High School, and studied civil engineering at St. Martin’s University and the University of Washington. A WWII Veteran, he enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and served aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. Upon graduation from St Martin’s at age 23, he joined the Morrison-Knudsen Company and was sent to Alaska as project superintendent of airfield construction. In 1953 he founded the Collins Company, specializing in marine heavy civil and under water construction. He was a pioneer in underwater construction techniques, Geoduck harvesting, and held numerous contracts at facilities including the Grand Coulee Dam, Hanford, Bremerton, Bangor, and Keyport Naval facilities, the Ballard Locks, Washington State Ferries, Piers 60 – 70, and Chief Joseph Dam. Notable large projects included reconstruction of the Seattle seawall and the Langley marina. In 1980, his company was the 1st underwater team to inspect Spirit Lake facilities for the Army Corps of Engineers after the Mount St. Helens’ eruption. In 1964 he was appointed by County Executive John Spellman to lead the King County Road Department, a position he held until 1975. He enjoyed a long and productive career in marine and heavy construction, putting his “skookum” trademark on hundreds of docks, seawalls, pipelines, and bridges. At age 77, he invented the world’s smallest high-stroke air pile hammer, and he continued to pursue challenging construction projects well into his 86th year. He loved his country, his family, his faith, and his work.

May he rest in Peace.

“It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced.” - Tom Brokaw

Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 AM Saturday, November 24th at St Cecilia Catholic Church, 26900 78th Ave NW, Stanwood, WA 98292.

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