Whitten Monelison Chapel

3966 South Amherst Highway, Madison Heights, VA


John Forrest Collins

July 30, 1945March 11, 2020

John F Collins, 74, of Roanoke passed away on March 11, 2020 at the V. A. Medical Center in Salem. Born 30 July 1945 in Dothan Alabama, John was the son of Frances Davis Collins of Lynchburg, who predeceased him.

John is survived by his brother, Richard Collins of Lynchburg and two cousins, Laura Hoffman (Paul) of Charlottesville, and Richard Ricketts of Lynchburg, He is also survived by his close friend Garland Harper of Lynchburg, and his family of fellow residents and staff at Magnolia Ridge, Roanoke.

John was a faithful member of Northminster Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Madison Heights. He was educated in Amherst County Schools and was a graduate of CVCC. He served in the USAF as a communications specialist in Okinawa, Hawaii, Korea, Thailand, and other interesting assignments. After leaving the Air Force, he spent many years working at Boy Scout and YMCA camps. He enriched many lives as a home companion for handicapped individuals, and also children whose parents traveled, and he worked as a car host for the state of NC on Amtrak state-financed trains.

John's real passion was travel; especially train travel. When he was not traveling, he liked to spend the day at a train station with other rail fans, watching rail traffic. Later in life, when travel became too difficult, he still planned long train trips and many people enjoyed hearing of his travel adventures through his stories and many detailed travel scrapbooks.

The family would like to thank all the dedicated health care professionals at the V.A. Medical Center who supported John, and us, through this final journey.

Funeral services will be Monday, March 16 at 11:00 at Whitten Monelison Chapel, Madison Heights. The family will greet friends after the service and burial will be at 1:00 at Fort Hill Memorial Park in Lynchburg.

Those wishing to make a donation should consider Northminster Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 106 Clearview Road, Madison Heights, or any Veteran's support organization of their choice.

To send online condolences to the family, please visit www.whittenmonelison.com. Whitten Funeral Home and Cremation Services Monelison Chapel, Madison Heights is serving the family.


  • Northminster Evangelical Presbyterian Church,
  • Any Veteran's Support Organization


  • Funeral Service Monday, March 16, 2020
  • Graveside Service Monday, March 16, 2020


John Forrest Collins

have a memory or condolence to add?

Joe Seagle

March 16, 2020

I worked with John at the front desk at the Downtown YMCA for several years. He was always member oriented and would go out of his way to help any of them. John had a special way with kids, one might have a bruise or splinter and John would immediately begin "first aid", solve the problem, comfort the child, and all would be well and smiles.

His knowledge of trains and cross-country trips entertained many members, and they sought out his advice about them.

John was a kind man in every way. He will be missed.

Susan Landergan

March 15, 2020

I have so many fond memories of John. I worked with him for many years at the YMCA of Central VA. He was a much appreciated member of our children's camp staff. I always felt assured that our children would be safe and well supervised when John was present on field trips. If my memory is correct, John had EMT training and knew what to do in the case of an emergency. Our Y camp went on a field trip to Mill Mountain Zoo one summer. The children and staff were riding the zoo train when it turned over. John jumped into action and played an important role in treating an injured staff member and keeping everyone calm. He was our hero that day.
John was very much a part of the Y team and he will always be remembered for his stories, his dedication to children, his attention to safety and his willingness to help wherever he was needed. I am honored to have known him.