ALLAN (David) Collins took on many roles in his life – husband, father, teacher, volunteer, cyclist and grandfather – and was much loved in all of them.
Hundreds of people filled a church on Monday to remember and celebrate the life of the 69-year-old man who died at Greenwood station on September 29.
The Greenwood grandfather was a retired teacher and volunteer whose influence on others was evident at the October 16 Seasons Funerals service at Trinity North Uniting Church.
Allan was born on May 17, 1948 and is survived by his wife Jude, children Jess and Josh and two grandchildren.
“The person he was most proud of in his family was his wife, Jude,” Jess said in her eulogy.
“Last Thursday their anniversary for meeting was 50 years – they had been married 45 years.”
Jess said her father loved to tell his family about his solutions to every issue.
“He was the most unique problem-solver you could ever meet,” she said.
“Many of his ways of dealing with issues were nothing short of brilliant; some were an absolute disaster.
“Dad gave us some wonderful times growing up.
“Dad used to disappear for long stretches of time, usually at meal time.
“We would find out later that he was busy helping someone.”
Mr Collins volunteered at Wheelchairs for Kids, and at the Edmund Rice Centre, teaching English to refugees.
“Dad believed very strongly in education and teaching was his passion,” Jess said.
“He believed everybody had a right to learn to read and write.”
Jess said he had also been helping his granddaughter this year and loved to ride his bike, not letting a disability diagnosis 15 years ago hold him back.
“He did so much to keep his strength up,” she said.
“He kept himself busier than ever in those last few years.”
Jess said her father built strong connections with everyone that he met and was “naturally caring”.
Son Josh said family and friends were important to his father and described him as charitable and social.
“Looking around today we can see how dad was loved,” he said.
“Dad had a unique talent to harness and share your interests, whatever it may be.
“I feel it is why he made such a good teacher as he saw something special in each of his students and he drew that ability out.
“One of the greatest gifts that Dad gave me, apart from a wonderful upbringing, was awakening me academically.
“Like teaching me how to cycle with training wheels he helped me with university, practically re-writing my first assignments and slowly over time with his help I grew in confidence.”
Josh said they had a fun upbringing, “exploring Perth one family cycle at a time” and the ocean and rivers in the family boat.
“For Dad, being a father to Jess and I and husband to Mum was cathartic,” he said.
“I truly believe that Dad obtained what he wanted out of life.
“He wanted those around him to achieve their ideal selves and his charity work was a reflection of that.
“He was very much a social creature; Mum would often ask Dad to go down to the shops for an item and Dad would jump on his bicycle and return a couple of hours later as he bumped into someone and lost track of time because he was having a good chat.”
Jess read letters from Allan’s sisters, who described him as a “great person” who had an “enthusiasm for life that was infectious”.
Minister Brian Richards said the service was to give thanks for Allan’s life and share in the sorrow of those mourning his death.
“While death is the end of human life, it marks a new beginning in our relationship with God,” he said.
“Death has taken Allan and our faith in life is shaken.
“Today we know there is tragedy involved in death.
“There’s the assurance that death is not the last word.”
Mr Richards said Allan served the community in many ways, showed commitment to whatever task was ahead of him and demonstrated courage facing sickness and disability.
The service including the hymns Amazing Grace and For You Deep Stillness, and people laid flowers from their gardens on the coffin.