Denver Collins Jr.

1950 Stow High graduate

Denver Collins Jr., of Streetsboro, died Nov. 29, 2012.

He was born Oct. 2, 1932, the son of Denver and Blanche Collins Sr. in Akron. Other than a brief period when he was quite young and during his service in the military, he made his home in the Akron area.

He graduated from Stow High School with the class of 1950. It was at Stow that he met the girl that would grow to become his partner in life, the former Mary Hanson.

He began his career in construction while still in grade school by accompanying his father to work at the M.B. Guran Co. in Akron. By the time he was in high school, he was a skilled heavy equipment operator. Using those skills for many different contractors on such projects as the Ohio Turnpike, the Central Interchange in Akron, and the Route 8 bridge over the Little Cuyahoga River, he earned the tuition to attend first Kent State and then to graduate from The Ohio State University with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in March of 1956. Also, while at Ohio State he married the high school sweetheart that would walk with him every step of the way for the next 57 1/2 years, Mary Hanson Collins, in January of 1955.

After graduating from Ohio State, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army Combat Engineers.

He returned from the service and immediately began working for Marshal C. Rardin & Sons Inc. He, and those he worked with, were able to grow the company from a small subcontractor into a heavy highway construction company that built more than 60 miles of new highway, primarily in Summit and Stark counties.

Among the honors that Mr. Collins was most proud of, was being selected by his peers to lead first the Ohio Contractors Association in Ohio and later the American Road and Transportation Builders Association at the national level as they advocated building and maintaining the state and nations infrastructure.

He also served on the board of trustees of the Ohio Operating Engineers Pension Fund. The fact that he and the other trustees have been able to keep the pension fund among the few in the country that was fully funded through many economic cycles including the most recent he felt was one of his greatest accomplishments.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Blanche and Denver; his sister, Daisy; his wife, Mary; and his daughter, Karen. He is survived by his aunt, Irene Hilliard of Cuyahoga Falls; his sisters, Blanche (John) Gretsinger of Stow and Arvella Patterson of Stow; his son, Denver (Chris) Collins of Hudson; his daughter, Sharen (Lanny) Nowak of Navarsota, Texas; his son-in-law, David (Susan) O'Neal of Waterbury Center, Vt.; grandchildren, Mary, Denver, John, and Thomas Collins and Katie Nowak; and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation was at Redmon Funeral with graveside services at Rose Hill Burial Park. Memorials may be made to the Denver Collins Jr. Scholarship Fund, # 601387, Ohio State University, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2070 Neil Ave., Columbus 43210-1275.