John “Jack” Arthur Collins
Long time Santa Barbara resident, John “Jack” Arthur Collins, 87, left us on August 9th, 2017 surrounded by his family and devoted dog after returning home from a brief hospitalization for COPD and pneumonia at Cottage Hospital.
Born to Margaret Smith and Arthur Garzet on November 22, 1929, in San Bernadino, CA, he was raised in the Mojave Desert and as a young child, had fun exploring old borax mines, detonating unexploded ordnance in the firing ranges, driving a model T and cutting school whenever possible. He graduated from Antelope Valley HS but also attended San Pedro HS briefly. Enlisting at 18, he spent time in both the Navy and Army, stationed across the country in places like Treasure Island, San Francisco, Port Deposit, MD, Lakehurst, NJ and Pensacola, FL. He met his first wife, Arlene Williams (nee Lichti) in Paso Robles. They married in 1952 and moved to Santa Barbara in 1953, where they had two daughters, Susan and Jeanette.
Jack met and married his second wife, Elspeth (nee Brown) of Kilmacolm, Scotland in 1963, and had two more children: John and Jennifer. Jack worked as a printer at St. Francis Seminary, at Pacific Coast Publishing Company, and finally at the Santa Barbara NewsPress, where he was at the forefront of the print technology evolution from Linotype to digital typesetting, retiring in 1994. He had more hobbies than anyone could count including, but in no way limited to: playing tennis and ping-pong, serving as president of the SB bike Club, performing in local theater productions such as of Wizard of Oz, Oklahoma and Showboat, whatever it is they do at Mensa, gardening, painting, sculpting, cooking, carpentry, woodworking and chunky, unwearable jewelry-making. He was also an enthusiastic volunteer, working at Foothill School, the Santa Barbara Zoo, the local dog shelter and taking blind students for tandem bike rides. One of his favorite volunteer jobs was teaching English and American culture to international faculty and students at UCSB, where he had the opportunity to welcome newcomers and make friends from all over the world.
He will be dearly missed by his wife, Elspeth; his four children: Susan Locke (Don) of Glendale, Jeanette Onorati (Peter) of Sherman Oaks, John Collins (Angela Whiting) of Happy Valley and Jennifer Collins (Marc Shapiro) of Vancouver, Canada. He was a proud ‘Grandpa Jack’ to his seven grandsons: Donny (Kelsey), Douglas (Caroline), Sonny, Frankie, Charlie, Sidney, and Solomon. A true animal lover, he is predeceased by nearly 15 dogs, two cats, dozens of mice and rabbits, a few turtles and a chipmunk named ‘Brother Raisin’.
A celebration of life will take place on Saturday, September 23, from 2pm to 5pm at the Beachside Bar Cafe. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Santa Barbara Humane Society or the American Lung Association.