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"KIP" 2003 Obituary


KIPP o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-05-29 published
Kenneth Fawcett COLLINS
By Alan RAYBURN Thursday, May 29, 2003 - Page A26
Husband, father, grandfather, veteran, volunteer, family historian. Born November 23, 1916, in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Died February 19, in Ottawa, of cancer, aged 86.
Ken COLLINS was born close to the New Hampshire border, into a family with very deep New England roots. His father Bernard (Bern) traced his roots back to the 1600s in that area, while his mother, Eleanor (Elly) McPHERSON, came from Grand Valley in Dufferin County, Ontario Elly's mother, Elizabeth Adaline FAWCETT, was the source of Ken's second name. Bern and Elly emigrated from the United States to Montreal in 1926, and then, in 1930, moved to North Bay, Ontario
In 1941, Ken graduated from Queen's University in Kingston with a degree in chemical engineering and worked in the Welland Chemical Works in Niagara Falls for two years. He then joined the Canadian army's Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Ken's pride as a commandant of "Reemee" was revealed in his car licence plate: CREME.
Ken served overseas from 1943 to 1946, and was a Normandy veteran. After the war, he held various staff and regimental appointments, mostly in Ottawa. Upon retiring from the army in 1967, Ken was engaged by Carleton University to administer the department of planning and construction until 1982.
During his Queen's graduation week, Ken married Evalyn ROBLIN, who had been raised west of Kingston in Adolphustown Township, Lennox and Addington County. After he discovered that local historians had been mistaken about which of two ancestral Roblin roots were Evalyn's, he vigorously launched into a search of his own family roots. Over a period of some 60 years he accumulated 24 thick binders on family connections. He was able to trace back 18 generations, with King Edward 4th among his ancestors in the 1400s.
Ken and Evalyn had three children, Marianne, Bruce (a fireman who was killed in a fire in 1972), and Elizabeth; also, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Family was very important to Ken; he was very proud of his offspring.
For almost a quarter of a century, Ken was a Friday evening volunteer at the Family History Centre of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Ottawa's Prince of Wales Drive. There he guided both experienced and novice family historians to find their ancestral records.
Recognizing the value of working with others involved in genealogy (right up there in North American hobby popularity, right after stamp collecting), Ken joined the Ontario Genealogical Society and its Ottawa Branch in 1972. After serving as the chair of the branch in the mid-1970s, he rose through the ranks to become the president of the Ontario Genealogical Society from 1977 to Ken was a prime mover of recording gravestone inscriptions in Ontario's cemeteries. As the Ontario Genealogical Society cemetery inscription coordinator from 1974 to 1992, he saw the number of recorded cemeteries rise from 1,800 to more than 5,000. A spinoff from the cemetery recordings is the much-used Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid on the Internet, which publishes the indexes of the cemetery recordings.
Ken was a member of Rideau Park United Church in the Alta Vista area of Ottawa, and had worked there for 36 years with the Boy Scouts. When his grand_son, John BAIRD (now an Ontario cabinet minister) became a teenager, he guided him to become a Queen's Scout.
Ken COLLINS was a great mentor, friend and gentleman: his contributions to family history studies, cemetery recordings and Scouting will long serve many Ottawa and Ontario generations to come.
Alan RAYBURN is a friend of Ken COLLINS; Edward KIPP contributed to the article.

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