John “Jack” Collins, 90, passed away at his home in Burlington on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, after a courageous battle with cancer. He spent his last days surrounded by his loving family and friends.
One of five children born to Joseph and Delia Collins, John was born at the family homestead in Cambridge on his mother’s birthday. He grew up in the Porter Square section of Cambridge and was a graduate of Cambridge Rindge High School.
At the age of 17, John enlisted in the Army to fight in World War II. The war was coming to an end, but John followed his heart and served his country until March of 1947. He was part of Company B of the 85th Signal Operation Battalion and was the recipient of the World War II Victory Medal.
John returned home and went back to college and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Campus. He retired from Raytheon after a 40-year career, working his way from an entry level engineer to a financial analyst on Raytheon's missile defense systems, particularly the Trident Missile. John and his family made their home in Burlington almost 60 years ago. Because of his engineering background, he could fix anything around his home including plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and automotive. His family teased him that he was “The Jack of all Trades.” A self-taught woodworker, he built and refinished furniture and created amazing toys for his grandchildren. Always a giver, John was an avid vegetable gardener, growing bushels of tomatoes that he gave away to family and friends. He was also known for his cooking and fudge making abilities.
Wherever John went, someone always approached him for guidance. Whether personal advice, food suggestions at the supermarket or the best tool to get the job done at the hardware store, John was always willing to lend a hand. He loved nature and wildlife and kept everyone laughing with his ingenious ways to keep the squirrels away from the birdfeeders. John was the loving husband to his wife, Gerry for 58 years. They enjoyed raising their family, day trips to the beach, and traveling all over New England. John was a hardworking man and a great provider for his family. He was kind, caring, and easygoing with a great Irish wit that made him well loved by everyone who entered his life.
John was the beloved husband of the late Geraldine A. (Costa). Loving father to his children Sharon Pleskowicz of Pelham, NH, Mark Collins & his longtime companion Sandy Harrington of Tyngsboro, Nancy Dagdigian & her husband John of Acton and Andrea Atkins & her longtime companion Tim Muscato of Hingham. Loving grandfather of Kathryn M. Jackson & her husband Kirk Jamgotchian and Brian P. Pleskowicz. Brother of Eleanor Hogan of Framingham, Sr. Elizabeth Collins S.B.S. of Bensalem, PA and the late Mary and Joseph Collins. At John's request funeral services were private. In lieu of flowers memorials in John's name may be made to the Saint Labre Indian School. Arrangements under the direction of the Edward V Sullivan Funeral Home, BURLINGTON