With the passing of Marvin Edward Collins on June 19th, El Cerrito lost one of its post-war civic leaders. He died peacefully at the great age of 98 and one half years.
Marvin Collins was born on the prairie of South Dakota on December 24, 1914, and grew up in a hard working farm family alongside seven siblings, of which he was the last remaining. He received his eighth grade education in a two room schoolhouse.
When the Dust Bowl destroyed the possibility of earning a livelihood in his native state, Marvin drove to California in 1935, and settled with his brothers in Albany. He quickly was able to realize the value of his carpentry skills on numerous projects in the East Bay.
When a physical disability kept him from military service in WW II, he constructed war-time housing by day and studied for a contractor’s license by night.
With the end of the war, he began a successful career as a building contractor, and over the next fifty years constructed a large number of schools, apartment blocks, churches, shopping centers, hospitals and condominium developments, with projects as far afield as Hawaii. His business, Marvin Collins Construction, continues today under his partner Lawrence Sanchez and son.
He served on many civic organizations and boards, and was past president of both the El Cerrito Rotary Club and Mira Vista Country Club, and a 33rd degree Mason. His lifetime enthusiasm for golf took him to play on many of the world’s celebrated courses, topped by a hole-in-one in Hawaii.
Marvin was a man of fine integrity and was loved and respected by a large circle of friends. He was known for his sense of humor and his follow-through on community projects.
Marvin was married twice, first to Maxine E. Collins for 27 years, and then to Margaret A. Collins, for 43 years. Margaret passed away in August, 2010.
He is survived by his children Marline E. Collins of Santa Rosa, and Marvin Emery Collins of Richmond, as well as by step-children James Stern, Cheryl Peterson and Kent Peterson. He was preceded in death by step-daughter Joan Statler. He is also survived by a beloved sister-in law, Marie Collins of Boise.
Family and Friends are invited to a memorial service at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, July 20, 2013 at Sunset View Mortuary, Colusa and Fairmount Aves, in El Cerrito, CA.
Contributions in Marvin’s memory may be made to the Lymphoma Research Foundation (lymphoma.org) or to the charity of your choice.