Allen Vincent Collins, 88, of Boston and Nantucket, died peacefully surrounded by his family on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, after a brief illness. He was the son of the late Charles W. Collins and Lovisa A. Collins of Everett, MA, where he grew up. He lived in West Hartford, CT for over forty years before moving back to Boston upon his retirement.
Al graduated from Dartmouth College in 1953 and married the late Nancy Collins three years later. They met on Nantucket Island, her hometown. Together, Allen and Nancy founded Allen Collins, Inc., a clothing store in West Hartford. The store became an integral part of the greater Hartford community and for 43 years was known for its iconic whale logo, a nod to Nancy’s Nantucket heritage. Allen Collins, Inc. was a genuine family business with all four Collins children working the sales floor and wrapping gifts during vacations and holidays. Al and Nancy created a real community in their store as loyal customers often stopped in to chat with longtime employees who had become friends. Always dapper, Al was well known for his bold and one-of-a-kind suits. His bright red and green Christmas suit was legendary.
Al loved adventures with his family. Nothing made Al happier than sailing in Nantucket in the family catboat or taking an early morning ski run with his children. He was the founding member and fearless leader of the H.A.T. (High Adventure Team) Squad, leading his children and later grandchildren on early morning escapades and doughnut runs. He loved cheering on his children and grandchildren at their sporting events over the years.
A devoted member of the Dartmouth College community, Al was a leader in the “Great Class of ’53.” For many years, Al served as President of his class. In addition, Al is believed to have been the only graduate to have held all three important alumni leadership positions: President of the Association of Alumni, President of the Alumni Council, and President of the Dartmouth College Fund Committee. He also dedicated much of his time to the Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford, where he served as Chairman of the Board during his unprecedented 25 years of trusteeship.
Al connected people. He was the definition of a good friend, always thinking of others and quick to reach out. His optimism and energy were contagious. Al was quick to share memorable stories that were both funny and filled with great life-lessons.
We will miss Al’s eternal enthusiasm, gregarious sense of humor, compassion and guidance as a father, grandfather, friend, and advisor. He leaves behind four children and their spouses, twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild: Kimberly Collins Parizeau of Wellesley MA and her husband Ernie and their four children Katelyn and her husband Daniel Foran and their son Charles Allen, Doug and his wife Kara Shurmantine, Molly and her fiancé Zachary Williams, and Sam; Wylie Collins of Greenwich, CT and his wife Jenny and their three children Kelsey, Ross, and Megan; Tristram Collins of Brick, NJ and his wife Jennifer and their two children Crosby and Kieran; and Jared Collins of Dover, MA and his wife Laura and their three sons Brendan, Christopher and Ryan. He also leaves his younger sister, Jane E. Collins of St. Augustine, FL, and his brother-in-law Dexter Collins of Nantucket, MA. His brother, Charles Collins predeceased him. A celebration of Al’s life will be held at the Boston Harbor Hotel on February 8 at 11:30AM.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Allen’s memory to either the Dartmouth Alumni Fund at www.dartmouthcollegefund.org, or check payable to Dartmouth College, 6066 Development Office, Hanover, NH 03755; or to the Nantucket Fund at www.cfnan.org/give (go to Nantucket Fund) or by check payable to the Nantucket Fund, Community Foundation for Nantucket, PO Box 204, Nantucket, MA 02554. Please note online or on checks that the gift is in memory of Allen Collins.