Mr. George Edward “Ed” Collins Jr., age 80 of Yulee, FL passed away on Thursday morning, April 20, 2017 at the Warner Center for Caring in Fernandina Beach, FL.
Born in Fort White, FL he was the eldest of three children born to the late George Edward and Winnie Moreland Collins Sr. He grew up in Fort White where he was a graduate of Fort White High School, Class of 1954. After high school he studied for two years at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
In 1959, Mr. Collins met Mary Ann Panke of Fernandina Beach, whom would become his wife in 1960. Mr. Collins accepted a position with the Florida Park Service as a Park Ranger at Oleno State Park. Within a few years the needs of a young family would require a move to Jacksonville as Mr. Collins accepted a position as a Chemical Operator with Glidco Chemical which was located in the Brentwood and Norwood section of North Jacksonville. He remained with Glidco until retiring in 2000. While working and raising their children; Mr. and Mrs. Collins remained involved with their love, the Florida Park Service. They were avid campers and Recreational Vehicle enthusiasts in addition to his work as Park Ranger, Assistant Superintendant and Superintendant at Oleno, Fort Clinch, Suwanee River and Gold Head State Parks. The Collins family moved to Yulee in 1973. After retiring, he and his wife joined the Army Corps of Engineers and traveled and lived in their motor home at various locations in FL, GA and AL before being invited to Forest Service Land “Between the Lakes” on the TN / KY border where they remained for 8 years.
As a University of Florida Alumni, he remained true to the Florida Gators athletic programs. Mr. Collins became a Master Mason at Cherry Hill Lodge No. 25, Fort White, FL, was a member of Amelia Lodge No. 47, F & AM, Fernandina Beach, the Scottish Rite Bodies, the Morocco Shrine Temple, Jacksonville, the Fernandina Beach Shrine Club and one of the original members of the Fernandina Beach Rough Riders. For many years he and his wife and several other couples provided transportation to Tampa, FL for the Fernandina Beach Rainbow Girls to the annual Grand Assembly. He and his wife were members of the Yulee United Methodist Church where they were Volunteers in the Food Pantry.
Mr. Collins enjoyed woodworking and being around, involved and helping other people. He was happiest when he was engaged in simple conversation with a fellow camper, diagnosing a cantankerous generator problem on a fellow camper’s RV, bringing a smile to the face of a child through his antics as a Rough Rider or observing the emotional relief of someone being helped through his church’s outreach ministry.
Mr. Collins leaves behind, his wife of 57 years, Mary Ann Panke Collins, Yulee, FL, their two children, Michele Collins Haga, Yulee, FL, Michael Edward Collins and his wife (Susan), Littleton, New Hampshire, a sister, Annie Laura Porter, a brother Steven Collins, both of Fort White, FL, grandchildren, Sean and Caleb Taylor, Trevor and Madison Collins as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at the Yulee United Methodist Church with Pastor Charlie Sward and Reverend John Gallman officiating.
Masonic honors will be accorded by Amelia Lodge No. 47 of Fernandina Beach, FL.
Serving as honorary pallbearers will be his fellow Masons, members of the Fernandina Beach Shrine Club, the Fernandina Beach Rough Riders, the Yulee Stitching Sisters and Volunteers of the Yulee United Methodist Food Pantry.
His family will receive friends following the service at a reception to be held in the church fellowship hall.
If so desired, memorial contributions may be made in his memory to the Yulee United Methodist Food Pantry, P.O. Box 127, Yulee, FL 32041