Feb 112011

Always the great outdoorsman, Earl Fredrick Collins, 94, took his favorite walk over to the Springs with his Lord Jesus on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011. The public funeral service will begin at 1 o’clock this afternoon (Feb. 11) at the White Mountain Bible Church, 3171 Show Low Lake Road in Show Low. The concluding service and interment will be held privately with his family surrounding his graveside at the Lakeside Cemetery.

Earl was born in Sullivan, Ind., on April 5, 1916.

He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and upon his honorable discharge returned home to Sullivan, where he met Betty Lou Stewart, who became his wife. They went on to enjoy a marriage of unparalleled love and devotion, beginning Oct. 15, 1947, and lasting 63 beautiful years until Earl joined his Lord last Saturday.

They ultimately moved their family from Indiana to Arizona, where his career prospered while living in Tucson. But Earl was too much of an outdoorsman to stay forever in the city.

Earl and Betty moved to the White Mountains in 1962. He opened a local business, starting with an auto parts store, which later expanded into sporting goods, and television sales and repair. This led to Earl being awarded a Radio Shack franchise, with stores in Pinetop and Holbrook. He was the first Radio Shack dealer in northeastern Arizona. He later opened a small electronics store in Lakeside.

During that time he took full advantage of what our beautiful state has to offer, enjoying innumerable hunting and camping trips, fishing expeditions, and of course, his beloved gardening.

While comforted that Earl has taken his place in Heaven, most assuredly enjoying his family and friends who preceded him in his journey, those left behind will miss him forever. He was everybody’s friend and was loved by all who met him. To merely say he leaves behind a great legacy does not do justice to what he accomplished in his life. It would be better to say that his success lies in his love, his integrity, his simple honesty and the strength which he lived every day of his life. His memory will never be forgotten by those privileged to have been influenced by his example, and more importantly by his gentle love.

Survivors include the love of his life, his wife Betty; three of their children, Margee (Dave), Sandi (Tom) and Kelly (Steve); his two children from his first marriage, Brian (Diana) and Peggy (Frank); Earl and Betty’s 12 grandchildren, Joseph, Sherri, David, Timothy, Jeremiah, Christian, Michael, Melissa, Blu, Jon, Rusty and Cory; Earl’s additional six grandchildren, Brian Jr., Rusty, Debbie, Linda, Tammy and Robert; and 39 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kimberley.

Owens Livingston Mortuary of Show Low is in charge of the arrangements.