Raymond Francis Collins
July 12, 1927 – May 28, 2020
Raymond F. Collins July 12, 1927 -May 28, 2020
Raymond F. (Ray) Collins was born on July 12, 1927 in Tisdale, Saskatchewan, where his parents, Benjamin F. Collins and Laura Alma Nevling Collins, were missionaries in Canadian lumber camps. Within a year after his birth, the family moved to Smithmill, Pennsylvania, to be near their extended family. The Nevling family in Pennsylvania dates back to Jacob Nevling, who immigrated from Germany, crossed the Delaware with Washington and was killed in the Revolutionary War.
Picking wild berries with his mother was one of his fond childhood memories. Ray’s mother died when he was nine. He later moved with his father and four siblings, Mora, Laura, Vaughn and Faith to Twenty-nine, Pennsylvania, a small coal mining community, and then to Altoona. Growing up during the Depression, he learned to creatively solve problems and how to fix just about anything. During World War II, Ray, his father and his two older sisters got jobs in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, and the family moved west. Ray spent two years at the shipyard as an electrician apprentice before the war ended.
Ray attended Simpson Bible Institute in Seattle. He got to know Alice McNeely at a school picnic, and Ray and Alice were married on September 8, 1948. He served as a pastor in two small churches, painted homes, worked at Kenworth and did agricultural work in central Washington. He later attended Seattle Pacific College and worked at Boeing for nearly forty years, primarily in manufacturing engineering.
Ray attended Grace Church in West Seattle for more than 65 years. He taught adult Sunday School classes to fulfill his sense of calling as a teacher. He enjoyed serving others and over the years helped many friends with home repairs. He and Alice took pleasure in gardening and one year their lovely yard was featured in the White Center Garden Tour. He grafted multiple varieties of apples onto the apple trees in his yard. He never lost his delight in picking berries, and wild blackberry pies and apple pies were family favorites.
In 2018, with the support of his family, Ray achieved a long-term goal when he self-published Studies on the Book of Isaiah, a book based on his notes from several years of teaching adult Sunday School classes.
Ray enjoyed reminding people of Psalm 139:16. “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (NIV) He noted that, “God knew all about what He had planned for me and how I would react and respond before I was born.” He lived out his faith in God throughout his life, knowing that his Lord loved him and would care for him.
Alice preceded Ray in death in 2014. Ray and Alice had two daughters, Naomi Gayle Milano (1949-2001) and Carol Lynn (James) Wilhoit, of Naperville, Illinois. He is also survived by his sister Faith Staton of Shelby, North Carolina, his sister-in-law, Rosella Collins of Seattle, his son-in-law, Albert Milano of Dallas, Texas, three grandchildren (Elizabeth Larson of Auburn, Alabama, Juliana McMillan-Wilhoit of Skokie, Illinois and Victor Milano of Spartanburg, South Carolina), one great-grandson (Jayce Milano), and many nieces and nephews.
Thursday, June 11, 2020