Ocean Beach 11

John W. Collins

December 15, 2023
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John Collins Obituary

John was called home to heaven on Friday, December 15, 2023, at age 92 years. John was born in 1931, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, son of Omer and Mary Collins. He married the love of his life, Jean, in February 1955. They enjoyed nearly 62 years of marriage until Jean’s death separated them temporarily in 2016.

John graduated from Messmer High School in 1949. He served in the National Guard from 1951-1952. He worked under his father, building homes, to complete his Carpenter Apprenticeship through Milwaukee Technical School and the Milwaukee Carpenters Union from 1950-1953. 

John was activated to serve his country during the Korean War from 1953-1954. He served with the 101st Airborne in Yokohama, Japan until he received orders to go by himself on a train to Hokkaido where he learned that based on his skills testing, he would serve in the 1st Cavalry as a weapons specialist. He came home in December 1954, and married Jean in February 1955.

Following his military service, John used his carpentry skills in a temporary position installing gymnasium dividing doors, bleachers, and basketball backstops for Brunswick. This led to a full-time position travelling the state installing gym equipment. Following Brunswick, John worked for the Hibley Company who was installing school equipment, including bleachers for Milwaukee Sporting Goods. In 1958 the president of Milwaukee Sporting Goods hired John to install and to sell their gymnasium equipment. John was a creative problem solver and an honest businessman, leading to his becoming the new President of Milwaukee Sporting Goods in 1972, which he successfully accomplished for the next ten years.   

John was chosen “Boss of the Year” in 1975 by the Progress Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association, based on a nomination letter written by his female employees.

Following his retirement, at age 58, John went on to serve for many years as a volunteer for Children’s Wisconsin, out of his gratefulness for five healthy children.

John’s life revolved around his Christian faith, and his gratitude and love for his family. John loved going on beach vacations with Jean, encouraging his children, following his grandchildren’s activities, family fishing trips, playing sheepshead, modifying things to make them work better, and being around nature and all kinds of animals. John was generous out of his gratefulness. 

John is survived by his children Nancy Melnick (Paul), William Collins (Rene), Daniel Collins (Lori), Maureen Collins, and Robert Collins (Lisa), ten grandchildren, four great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, other relatives, and dear friends.

John is preceded in death by his wife Jean, and his sisters Dorothy Pfeil and Jean Arnold.

Our heartfelt thanks to the care teams at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Comfort Keepers Home Care, Congregational Home Short-Term Rehab, and Hannah Home Health Care, Inc., who treated John with expertise and love.

Visitation for John will be held on Friday, December 22, 2023, from 10:00 am until the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am, all at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 12130 W. Center St, Wauwatosa, WI 53222.



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December 22, 2023

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
St. Joseph Catholic Church
12130 West Center Street
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 53222

Mass of Christian Burial
December 22, 2023

11:00 AM
St. Joseph Catholic Church
12130 West Center Street
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 53222


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