HOLLAND, MI. - Dr. John Ward Collins, DDS, of Holland passed away peacefully at his daughter's home in Saxapahaw, NC on February 17, 2012 at the age of 86 after a long struggle with Alzheimer's Disease.
He is survived by his wife, Esther (Beebe) Collins; his children, David Collins of Peoria, IL and Jennifer (& Gray) Brunk of Saxapahaw, NC; and his grandchildren, Bradley, William, James, Richard and Mark Collins.
John was born in Negaunee on August 3, 1926 to Tom and Mary Collins. He grew up in the Upper Peninsula and although he moved to the Lower Peninsula, part of his heart remained "up north". He spent time nearly every summer of his life at the family cottage on Round Lake near Curtis. John served in the Navy from 1944-46 and then returned to the U.P. to graduate from Northern Michigan University. He followed in his brother Colton's footsteps and graduated from the University of Michigan Dental School in 1954. He also earned a Master's degree in Public Health from the U of M in 1961. John worked for the State of Michigan his entire career, retiring in 1989 after 28 years of service. During that time, he administered important fluoride treatment programs for rural school children across the state, and worked as a dentist for profoundly mentally disabled children at a state hospital in Caro and for inmates at the Dunes Correctional Facility in Saugatuck.
Dr. John Ward Collins
John married Esther Grace Beebe of Jackson on September 9, 1960. They celebrated their 51st anniversary together in 2011. He enjoyed being an Indian Scout leader and teaching his kids to ski on the bunny hill at the Lansing Ski Club. He spent countless hours driving his daughter around Michigan for ballet, gymnastics, and oboe lessons. John and Esther took years of dance lessons and enjoyed cheering for the Redwings.
John was a smart, sincere, and thoughtful person, a devoted father and husband. His family cared for him at home during his 17 year battle with Alzheimer's and would like to thank the many wonderful caregivers who assisted in his care and contributed to his wellbeing over the years.
A small memorial service honoring John's life will be held at 3:30 pm on August 11 at Pherdun Cemetery on N. Sandstone Road in Jackson County, with dinner following.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Evergreen Commons, 480 State Street, Holland, MI 49423.