James J. Collins, 81, of Worcester, Massachusetts, a retired teacher with the Worcester Public Schools, died on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, after a brief illness.
Jim was born, raised and educated in Worcester. After graduating from North High School, Jim joined the U.S. Air Force. He attended the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) Language Program in Syracuse, NY, before serving overseas with the U.S. Air Force Security Service (6988th Security Squadron). Following his military service, Jim attended Assumption College in Worcester, and graduated in 1967 with a B.A. in Education. He worked as a secondary social studies teacher in the Worcester Public Schools for 30 years.
Jim loved jazz, traveling, crossword puzzles and reading, but his greatest love was his wife Kathleen (McKiernan) Collins, who he met at a dance at the Father John Power Center one Saturday night when they were both in high school. Young Jimmy was a sharp dresser whose sense of humor and real-world intelligence caught the eye of the more studious and serious Kate. Jimmy, who was a bit of a class clown, could make Kate laugh like no one else. Their story ended too soon when Jim lost Kate to cancer in 1981. They are survived by their three daughters, Moira E. Collins-Cook, of Providence, RI; Deidre M. Collins, of Cambridge, MA; and Karen C. Smith and her husband, Stuart, of Asheville, NC. Jim is also survived by his much adored and adorable grandsons, Franklin M. Collins-Cook and Brendan E. Smith. Along with his wife and his parents, the late Ralph L. Collins and Evelyn (Maxfield) Collins, Jim was predeceased by his brother David W. Collins and his sister Ann C. O’Connell.
Jim was a proud Grampa, who loved reading stories to his grandsons and taking them to the movies, the beach, and to get ice cream. In more recent years, he became Brendan’s biggest soccer fan and Franklin’s favorite opponent for games of tic-tac-toe and Connect Four. Jim’s grandsons, along with the rest of his family and his friends, will miss him greatly.
Calling hours will be from 3:00-5:00 pm on Friday, November 24, 2023, at the Britton-Wallace Funeral home in Auburn, Massachusetts. In keeping with Jim’s wishes, there will be no funeral service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Friendly House Neighborhood Center (https://www.friendlyhousema.org/donate/).