CARIBOU (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- People in Caribou are remembering Senator Susan Collins’ father, Don Collins.
He passed away Saturday night at the age of 92.
Collins received two purple hearts during World War Two, served for decades in the Maine state legislature and served as the mayor of Caribou, along with holding numerous positions on boards for various organizations over the years.
Someone like that could easily put himself above others, but Don Collins did not.
“He wasn’t the kind of guy who boasted about what he did, just his very stature as a person was impressive,” said Bill Flagg who worked with Collins to launch Cary Medical Center.
In his final years, Collins battled Alzheimer’s Disease but before his health declined people in Caribou say he was often seen around town.
He and his wife of 70 years, Pat Collins, would go for walks, shovel snow together and, according to the staff at Reno’s restaurant, would occasionally pop in for a Reuben sandwich.
Through these everyday acts, the people of Caribou saw humility in a man who did so many big things.
Collins was part of the fourth generation to run the S.W. Collins Company, advocated for Caribou and other communities in the legislature, supported educational programs at the University of Maine Presque Isle and was a father to six children.
“When you talk about a family that really resonates and, in a sense, is Aroostook county, virtually everyone in the County will say the Collinses have done as much for the county as an individual family could have done,” said Dr. Raymond Rice, president, and provost of UMPI.
“I think he was pleased I had the opportunity to serve at a university I love,” said Sam Collins, one of Don’s sons, who is now a former chair of the University of Maine Systems Board of Trustees.
“He was about giving back, and he did with pleasure. That was one of the biggest lessons I learned from him.”
The people of Aroostook County say Senator Susan Collins is a lot like her father.
They told us her work ethic, kindness, and love for her community are values her father instilled in her.
They and others in Northern Maine say Senator Collins’ leadership in Washington has carried Don Collins’ values far beyond Caribou.
A funeral for Don Collins will be held later on this week.