Beverly – Arthur Bernard Collins passed away peacefully in his sleep on June 20. Mr. Collins was born on May 7, 1930 in Beverly, Mass. to John Joseph and Catherine (Boyle) Collins. He was a loving husband to Sandra (Lear) Collins for 41 years. Arthur was predeceased by Sandra in 2000 and by his son, Peter, in 2017.
He was born and raised in Beverly Cove where, along with Sandra, they raised their four children, Kathy, Patty, Mike, and Pete. Later in life, Arthur and Sandra moved to Manchester-by-the-Sea, then to Ipswich.
He was a 1948 graduate of Beverly High School and a 1951 graduate of the Beverly Cooperative Trade School which was associated with United Shoe Machinery Corp., where he started his career. During his tenure at the United Shoe, Mr. Collins served three years in the US Coast Guard working his way up to 2nd class gunner’s mate. He served proudly on several ships including the Unimak, the Humboldt, as well as on weather ships and buoy tenders, all on the northeastern coast.
Arthur served as the Tax Collector and eventually Collector/Treasurer for the City of Beverly for over 15 years. He ended his career as the Treasurer of the South Essex Sewerage District in Salem, Mass. A highlight of his career was serving as the President of the Mass. Collector’s and Treasurer’s Association.
His life was his family, which he always put first. Whether it was watching swim meets, tennis matches, baseball or basketball games, he was always on the sidelines of every activity his children, then his grandchildren, chose to pursue. He was always supportive and had an encouraging word. He believed in hard work and treating people fairly, and he always led by example – a great role model for all who came in contact with him.
But it was the fun family events and traditions that really paint an accurate picture of Arthur. Whether creating a skating rink in the backyard, or dressing up each year for Halloween, or setting up a slip-n-slide for his grandchildren or hosting the July 4th breakfast gathering, he always included everyone with his philosophy of the more the merrier. Some of his unique activities included making an annual batch of homemade root beer, making homemade ice cream on 4th of July and growing peanuts in the garden just for fun.
Arthur served on many non-profit boards and was involved in many community organizations throughout his life, including the Beverly YMCA, Beverly Little League and Babe Ruth Baseball League, Sacred Heart Church, and North Shore Visiting Nurses Assoc. One of the things he was most proud of was helping to create a scholarship fund at the Beverly Cove Improvement Assoc., and serving on the scholarship committee at the Beverly Rotary Club to benefit Beverly High School seniors. In retirement, he also served on the Manchester Housing Authority for 15 years and was integral in the development of the mixed-use affordable housing and retail development at 12 Summer St., Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass. A legacy to his belief that we must take care of our fellow citizens.
There are many words that describe Arthur–kind, hard-working, friendly, honest, outgoing, caring, compassionate, family-man, empathetic and quick-witted. But, he will likely be remembered by those who knew him well as a wonderful father and grandfather, as a true and loyal friend, a wise and honest mentor, someone always willing to lend a hand, a life-long lover of baseball and the Red Sox, and for his love of strawberry shortcake.
Arthur leaves his daughter Katherine Bonnar of Ipswich, daughter Patricia Bright and her husband Cameron of Freeport, Maine, and son Michael and wife Sharon (Jalbert) of Reading. In addition, he leaves six grandchildren including Austin Bonnar of Atlanta, Georgia, Timothy Bonnar of New York, NY, Wesley and Acacia Bright of Freeport, Maine, and Owen and Griffin Collins of Reading, Mass.
Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, June 25, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly, and a funeral mass will be held on Friday, June 26, at 9 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Church, 62 School St., Manchester-by-the-Sea. Precautions will be taken in light of the COVID-19 situation. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Beverly Rotary Scholarship Fund or a charity of your choice. Checks can be made out to Beverly Rotary Club Foundation and sent c/o Mike Collins, PO Box 372, Reading, MA 01867. Information, directions, and condolences can be found at campbellfuneral.com