Ray Collins

Ray Collins

Ray Collins passed away on July 6, 2011 at the Sapphire Suites of Valley Health Care Center. Ray was born in Butte MT on August 8, 1926 to Dr. A. R. Collins and Erma Lessel Collins. He graduated from Whitehall High School in 1944 and served for 2 years in the U S Navy. He found his future wife, Albina Crottogini in his junior year when he just had to meet the freshman girl that got 4 boxes of Valentine’s candy. They were married on December 28th 1948 and started their married life with a train ride to Ann Arbor where Ray completed his Masters of Education at the University of Michigan. After graduation they came back to Montana where Ray began a distinguished career in education. He taught and was principal in Bridger, then principal at SGHS in Big Timber and at Billings Senior High. He served in many positions for the Montana Education Association and the Montana Association of School Administrators. He was very proud when Senior High received the National Francis Bellamy award for outstanding High School in 1976. After his retirement in 1980 he worked as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch.

Ray enjoyed the contacts he made in many groups and activities including Vestry committee for St. Mark’s and St. Stephens Episcopal Church, Elks, Kiwanis, American Legion and Al Bedoo Shrine . He enjoyed lunches with his buddies from the G I Patrol and retired Senior High faculty. Ray was an avid fan of football, especially for the “GO BLUE” Michigan Wolverines and the MSU Bobcats “GO CATS”. He was very patriotic, loved to read and had amazing recall for any historical fact. Ray also loved camping, bird hunting, skiing and “show no mercy” Pinochle.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years Bina; his daughters Carol (Doug) Clapper of Billings, Kay (Gordon) Loundagin of Littleton CO; six grandchildren Jason (Stephanie) Clapper, Christina Rae (Tim) Erickson, Kevin Clapper, Nicholas Ray, Lindsay Lessel and Michael Gordon Loundagin; and two great grand children, Stella Rae Erickson and Brianna Marie Clapper, also close nephew Bob (Susan) Solari and their children, Lori and Kurt (Kelly), and niece and nephews of Michigan. Ray was preceeded in death by his parents, his brother, Bill (Ruth) Collins and his sister in law, Florence (Maurice) Solari.

Memorials may be made to the Al Bedoo Shrine Transportation fund, 1125 Broadwater Ave, St. Stephens Church 1241 Crawford Dr. or the Erma Lessel Scholarship Fund at MSU Bozeman, 1501 W. 11th Ave. Bozeman MT 59717.

Cremation has taken place. Memorial services will be held 10:30A.M., Monday, July 11th at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

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