Perinton – 1/8/2018, at age 89.
Reunited with his eternal love, Janice M. Collins; beloved son, Matthew Collins; grandson, Jason Dobrowski and granddaughter, Abbey Anne Collins Hoagland; also predeceased by parents Charlie and Frances Collins and siblings, Lillian Kelly, Frances Matteson, Hazel VanHooydonk, Donald Collins, Charles “Chuck” Collins and Shirley Manchester. Survived by daughter, Jennifer Collins; grandson, Andrew Dobrowski and his wife, Allison; daughter-in-law, Meg Hellwig; sister, Kate Reidenbach; several nieces and nephews.
Calling hours Sunday 4-7PM at Richard H. Keenan Funeral Home, 7501 Pittsford Palmyra Rd. (Egypt Location), where a Service will follow. Guests are invited to wear purple in honor of Ted’s love for lilacs. Private Burial. In lieu of flowers please consider donations to establish the Ted Collins Memorial Scholarship Through Genesee Fingerlakes Nursery and Landscape Association, 6995 Groveland Hill Rd., Groveland, NY 14462.
Biography of Edward “Ted” Collins Life
Edward Frank Collins, known to most as Ted, was born April 12, 1928 to Charlie and Frances Collins. The seventh of ten children, he was raised on the property of Riverside Cemetery in Rochester, NY, where Charlie was the Superintendent.
Ted’s early years in school were not the smoothest, and at one point, he left school entirely, setting off with dear friend Tom McGuire to see the country. They worked on farms, national parks, and various other places along the way. When he returned, two forever loves came into Ted’s life – Janice and horticulture, both determining his future path. With the mentoring of dedicated horticulture teachers and the maturity gained during the years away, he embraced school whole heartedly, coached in sports, and was elected President of the Student Association. He graduated from Charlotte High School in 1950, and immediately enlisted in the Korean War. After the service, Ted came home to Rochester, married Janice on October 31, 1953, and soon enrolled in the Farmingdale Horticulture program, thanks to the GI bill and a love for the field. Upon graduation, they returned to Rochester and Jennifer was born in 1956. In 1960, Matthew was born, and their family was complete!
There was no doubt that Ted intended to start his own business, be his own boss, and do things “his way”. Although there were a few early versions of the business, Ted Collins Associates, or TCA (later Ted Collins Tree and Landscape) was officially started somewhere around 1956. Starting in Charlotte, the business moved to Pittsford when Ted realized from his work at Oak Hill Country Club as Tree Supervisor, that the county’s growth and potential for a landscape business was more on the east side, and moved the business to Pittsford. For a few years, TCA operated from Schoen Place, with a Garden Store and Fireplace Shop as retail operations while the landscape business grew. It grew too large for the constraints of Schoen Place and moved to Victor in the 1970s, where it remains today.
The family moved only twice over the years. When Ted and Janice first came to Rochester, they lived in an idyllic setting on Rock Beach Road, where Ted was the grounds man for a lakeside estate. The first move was to Frey Street – close to family, friends, and the neighborhoods they had both grown up in. They made more dear friends, but the commute to Pittsford and the small space was intolerable for Ted, and after quite the extended search, Janice found their lifelong home on Turk Hill Rd – “the Hill” to most of us now. Their family and friends thought Ted and Janice to be crazy – moving to “the country” in 1968 – but, their choice was the best for all, as evidenced by Ted being there until his last day.
Ted Collins Associates has a long, interesting history itself, but perhaps the most important piece of it is the 100s of people and connections that came into the Collins family lives because of the business. Ted was a hard worker, set high expectations for everyone around him, but also liked to tell stories, connect with people, and enjoy his hobbies, such as hunting, fishing, and travel. Although he sold Ted Collins Associates in 1989, he did not ever really “retire”. He started Lilac Hill Nursery on the Hill and became the self-proclaimed Doc Lilac, working close to home with family members all around him. Although he dissolved Lilac Hill Nursery in 2017, he still made dozens of beautiful lilac arrangements and Christmas wreaths up until only a few weeks ago.
Ted’s list of loves, talents, hobbies, and characteristics is long, varied and colorful, to say the least! While his business was often all-absorbing, Ted’s free time was focused on Janice, his children, his grandchildren, Andrew, Jason, and Abbey – and all of his “adopted grandchildren” – countless called him Papa or Gramps. Long summer days by the pool on the Hill or winter ones on Hutchinson Island, with his loved ones surrounding him, were Ted’s joy. Family members and all their friends knew that food, drink, and stories would be plentiful. While recent years brought him more loss than he could bear, he always enjoyed the simple pleasure of being together.
Ted loved everything about the outdoors. Besides trees being his business, he made them his passion. He prided himself on being able to identify any plant or tree – even making it a challenge to those around him to try to “stump” him. Sharing his knowledge came naturally – a teacher until the last moment of his life. He also loved to hunt and fish – that lifelong passion started as a very young man and continued throughout his life, including trips to Alaska, British Columbia, Colorado, and of course, fishing on the Indian River Lagoon in Stuart, FL. His other talents included gardening, playing the piano and harmonica, writing poetry or song words for every special occasion, and most recently, writing his memoirs.
It is difficult to capture Ted in words, yet those who love him know he never was at a loss for words – in person or in writing. A conversation with Ted brought dozens of stories of his life and adventures. Although he rarely expressed his love for people verbally, he wrote prolifically and expressed himself beautifully in the 1000s of notes and letters to the important people in his life. His larger than life presence will be missed by all.