William Collins

Obituary of William Robert Collins

Formerly of St. David’s Lane, Niskayuna, NY and most recently Canton, NY- William Robert Collins died peacefully in the company of his daughter, Martha Chisholm on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse after being stricken at The LaPoint Home in Russell, NY. Bill was the youngest of seven born at home to the late Clarence T. and Mary Irene Winchell Collins on September 30, 1933 in Coeymans Hollow, NY. Bill began his education in a one room schoolhouse where he skipped 3rd grade prior to graduating from Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School in 1950. The principal called Bill in the office to tell him in spite of his low math grades, Bill should further his education. With that, Bill hopped a chicken wagon to attend SUNY Albany where in 1954 he earned a B.A. and the following year a M.A. Fulfilling his patriotic duty, in 1955 Bill was stationed in Korea along with his brother Albert (Jiggy). While in Korea, Bill taught French through the University of Maryland and subsequently English for the US Army. After an honorable discharge in 1957, Bill began his teaching career at Coxsackie-Athens Central School teaching both French and English. Although Bill taught only for five years at Coxsackie, the memories would last a lifetime as it was at Coxsackie Bill met his wife to be Jean Cox. The pair were married in 1960 and enjoyed forty-eight beautiful years together until her death in 2008. While at Coxsackie, Bill continued his education at Middlebury College and received an N.D.E.A. fellowship for additional studies at Colgate University. In 1963, Bill was hired by Niskayuna Central Schools as a teacher of French. Over the next twenty-eight years, while at Niskayuna, he continued graduate work at SUNY Potsdam, Union College and ultimately pursued a doctorate at SUNY Albany. During his tenure at Niskayuna Bill taught both French and German. Upon becoming Department Chair of Foreign Languages at Niskayuna, he enrolled in Spanish courses to better evaluate his staff. Bill was very proud of the Exchange Programs with France, Germany and Spain and maintained relationships with many of the teachers from Europe for several years. Upon retirement in 1991, Bill and Jean traveled some but as Jean was afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease, he became her consummate caregiver. Bill remained ever positive, loving and devoted citing “we do what we can.” Fond family memories of Bill include camping on the islands of Lake George, frolicking in the ocean waves in Avalon, NJ, skiing at Maple Ridge, and summering at the family cottage on Lake St. Catherine, VT. Bill is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Martha and Scott Chisholm of Canton, NY; five grandchildren, Mary and Catherine Chisholm of Canton; Patrick, Nicholas, and Anna Collins of Tampa, FL; and one great-granddaughter Isabella also of Tampa. Additionally he is survived by a niece Catherine Mary Pierce and nephews Albert Jr., Robert and Raymond Collins of Coeymans Hollow, NY. He is predeceased by his wife Jean, son David, brothers Harold (Bucky) and Albert (Jiggy) and nephew Richard. A memorial service will be held at the 1st Reformed Church, 8 North Church Street, Schenectady, NY 12305 in the spring. Burial will be held privately in Evergreen Cemetery Canton, NY. Memorial contributions in Bill’s memory may be made to the 1st Reformed Church where they will be earmarked for Youth Programs or to Canton Fire & Rescue, 77 Riverside Drive, Canton, NY 13617. The family of Bill Collins would like to thank, Pat and Terry Kinal, the staff at Partridge Knoll, Paul Sibbitts, the Canton Rescue Squad and the LaPoint Family for the kindness and compassion they demonstrated over the last few years.
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