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Edwin H. Collins

Wed, 11/24/2021 - 10:01

March 26, 1959 - Nov. 16, 2021

When he was a senior in college, Edwin Collins decided he wanted to take a solo bicycle trip across the United States. He prepared by taking training rides on the East End that started and ended at his parents’ house in Montauk, and he often rode home after midnight, after his dishwashing shift at Gosman’s Dock restaurant.

The journey ultimately took him from Portland, Ore., to Beacon Hill in Boston, where he pedaled up to his sister’s apartment and was greeted by cheers from his family. “This successful trip was just the start of many more life adventures,” wrote his sister, Monica Collins of Boston.

Mr. Collins, who lived in Montauk from 1974 to 2015, died of a heart attack at home in Boonton, N.J., on Nov. 16. He was 62.

His legacy, his sister wrote, will be one of “kindness, intrepid professionalism, intellectual curiosity, robust adventure, and determined individualism. Anyone who knew him will tell you he was his own man — especially his wife,” Anne Blackwell-Collins, who survives.

They met while playing squash at a club in Mountain Lakes, N.J., and were married on Christmas Eve in 1993 at Gretna Green, Scotland. Together they shared a love of running, journaling, cats, reading, and traveling the world, from Germany to Argentina. They walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall in England, ran the New York City and Berlin Marathons, and took hiking expeditions along the Hudson River. They were most cheerful when exploring the nooks and crannies of the Scottish countryside, and their last trip was to Yosemite National Park this spring.

Edwin Hellawell Collins was born in Garden City on March 26, 1959, to Louis Collins and the former Eileen Hellawell. The youngest of three children, he benefited from — and took knocks for — being the baby of the family. His sister treated him as her personal servant and his brother teased him unmercifully, his family said. Still, they loved him beyond measure, and he grew up happily in the countryside after the family moved to Katonah, N.Y., in 1962.

There he graduated from John Jay High School in 1977, going on to Drew University in Madison, N.J., completing his degree in 1981.

After college, Mr. Collins briefly taught at the Delbarton School in Morristown, N.J. He enjoyed teaching but decided to enter the insurance industry after leaving Delbarton. He would go on to have a long career in insurance, working at firms including Chubb, Great American, Fireman’s Fund, Coverx, Berkley, and Crum & Forster. At the time of his death, he was working for AltaRisk, an underwriting insurer of specialty products.

In addition to his wife and his sister, Mr. Collins is survived by his brother, Louis Andrew Collins of Stuart, Fla. He also leaves cousins, nephews and a niece, and other relatives in Scotland, and many co-workers, neighbors, and friends “who knew his kindness and bonhomie,” his family wrote. “Edwin

loved nothing more than a good book, a good beer, and a good laugh.”

A small memorial service was held yesterday in Boonton. Mr. Collins’s family has suggested donations in his honor to the North Star Pet Rescue in Boonton, online at northstarpets.org.

 


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