Henry David “Dave” Collins, age 83 of Three Rivers, died Tuesday Feb. 23, 2010 at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. He was born in Detroit on Nov. 2, 1926 the son of Henry David and Viola Ruth (Battishill) Collins. The family moved to Parkville in 1941, where Dave learned mechanical skills in his father’s garage. He dropped out of school to serve in the U.S. Navy at the end of WWII, and many years later received his GED from Three Rivers High School. Dave first worked for Happel’s Garage in Mendon and was a stock car driver in the early 50s, later becoming a flagman. He was the bus mechanic and later the transportation supervisor for Mendon Public Schools, and later at Three Rivers Public Schools, retiring in 1989.
Dave was a student of the Civil War, and a member of the Civil War Round Table. In his younger days, he qualified for four marathons, and frequently ran with his wife and family. He was a 4-H volunteer, and one of the earliest members of the St. Joseph County Marine Patrol. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, riding his motorcycle, and watching old TV Westerns. Dave was a big Mendon Football fan, and was seen at all of his grandchildren’s special events. He especially enjoyed times with family at his cabin in Kalkaska.
Dave was married to Pearl Buchner in Goshen on June 18, 1950. She survives along with three children, Jerri Foley (Mark) of Portage, Terry Collins (Janice) and Merry Jo Tavernier (Kevin) both of Three Rivers; eight grandchildren, Patrick and Daniel Foley, Ryan, Marisa Jo, and Matt Collins, Adam, Andy, and Amy Jo Tavernier; one sister, Mary Margaret Ely of Phoenix; two brothers Robert Collins of Tennessee and Tony Collins (Marge) of Mesa, AZ. He was preceded in death by his parents; and a daughter, Sherry Lynn.
The family will receive friends from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Eickhoff Funeral Home in Mendon. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Sunday Feb. 28, 2010 at the funeral home with Rev. Marilyn Schlimgen, Pastor of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Constantine officiating. Military rites will follow, and interment will take place in Mendon Cemetery. Memorials will be directed to the Mendon Quarterback Club. An online register is available and condolences may be left at www.eickhofffuneralhome.com