Leroy P. Collins, Active In Civic Affairs, Environmental Issues
The experiences of two wars didn't diminish retired Col. Leroy P. "Rip" Collins' sense of generosity. They perhaps strengthened it.
"He was very outgoing and interested in things he can do to make things better," said his wife, Ruth Collins of Mercer Island.
Mr. Collins died Friday of a heart attack at his Mercer Island home. He was 76.
Mrs. Collins described her husband as someone long interested in civic affairs.
Because of his experiences in Asia that included combat, she said, Mr. Collins became involved with the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia's Refugee Resettlement Office.
The program assists newly arrived refugees by providing them food, shelter, clothing and employment services.
Mr. Collins also was a member of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Mercer Island, where he served on the vestry.
In addition, he was chairman of the Western Washington chapter of the National Cathedral Association, president of the University of Washington Arboretum Foundation and a volunteer for a regional tree-planting project.
His interest in environmental issues grew out of his love of gardening, his wife said. He mostly worked with rhododendrons, but "if it grew, he liked it."
Born in Montgomery, Ala., Mr. Collins graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1941.
He then served as an infantry officer during World War II in the Philippines and Okinawa. He later fought in the Vietnam War.
During his 31 years in the Army, Mr. Collins received two Bronze Star and three Legion of Merit medals.
After retirement from the Army, he settled in the Pacific Northwest, having enjoyed the area when he was stationed at Fort Lewis in 1941.
His other survivors include sons Leroy P. Collins III of Chesapeake, Va., and Henry A. Collins of Herndon, Va.; and two grandchildren, Kimberly Ann Collins and David E. Collins, both of Herndon.
A service is scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 4400 86th Ave. S.E., Mercer Island 98040. Remembrances may be sent to the church.
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