Charles C. ?Cap? Collins
Funeral services for Charles C. ?Cap? Collins, 97, of Fargo, will be held at 11 o?clock on Thursday, May 15th 2008 at the First Presbyterian Church in Fargo. Visitation will be held that morning from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. in the Church Gathering Space. Burial will be at 3:00 pm on Thursday at the Evergreen Cemetery, Motley, Minnesota. He passed quietly away Sunday, May 11th, surrounded by family members.
Charles Clifford ?Cap? Collins was born July 2, 1910, in a rough log cabin at Gardiner, Montana — the NW entrance to his beloved Yellowstone Park. Raised primarily by his Grandmother, Cap was the first in his Western Pioneer Family to get an education beyond the 7th grade. Cap attended Park County High School, Livingston, Montana lettering in track and graduating in 1928.
He saw the Great Depression begin as a message runner for a local brokerage office. Thereafter he was at ?loose ends?, working in local power plants as a self-taught amateur electrician, until he met and in December 1939, married, Enola B. Seeley of Motley, Minnesota who had come West to work a summer in Yellowstone. Enola, a vivacious young teacher, brought music, laughter and a real family into Cap?s life. Cap worked several years for gold mining companies in Montana and Idaho, and volunteered for the military in 1943. Cap served in France and Germany in the 422d Regiment of the 106th Infantry Division, with post-war service at the Pentagon. Encouraged by Enola and the GI Bill, Cap returned to Montana State University in Bozeman, graduating magna cum laude in Electrical Engineering, in 1953.
He taught briefly at Northern Montana College in Havre and soon returned to Bozeman, earning a Master?s Degree of Electrical Engineering in 1957. Cap began his 31-year teaching career at NDSU (then NDSAC) in 1958. Cap was a devoted instructor whose door was always open to students needing extra help, at all hours of the day or night, and devoted to his profession. Over the years Cap has held many state, local, national offices with the NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers), and was named North Dakota ?Engineer of the Year? in 1975. Cap strongly believed engineers and academics must reach out to and influence civic and political groups beyond the world of books.
Cap was very active in the Kiwanis, (serving pancake breakfasts for 45 years), and put in countless volunteer hours with the Boy Scouts of Fargo. Chairing the Chamber of Commerce? energy committee, Cap organized Fargo?s fly-over rooftop heat-loss survey in 1973, one of the first in the Midwest, and many other civic and local energy education and conservation programs. He also wrote and produced a weekly editorial commentary program on KDSU ( the University?s radio station) covering history, politics, and scientific and current events topics.
Cap took special pride in his service on the North Dakota Grasslands Commission, dealing with land reclamation in the surface coal operation of Western North Dakota, which combined his passion for preserving the environment with his engineering and mining experience; 1972 to 1980.
Cap served on the first Review Board created under North Dakota?s automobile ?lemon law? in 1979, and for decades as faculty advisor to Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honorary Society at NDSU. Granted professor emeritus status at NDSU, Cap continued with the department, administering EIT and state accreditation programs, and teaching part-time until his last class, in 1989, at the age of 79.
Cap and Enola returned every year to the Yellowstone, his blood?s country, which was always home. Cap is survived by his children: son, Alan (Robbie) Collins of Minneapolis, MN; daughter, Jean Beth (Jack S.) Smith, of Fairfield, CA; grandsons: Jack Smith of Dellwood, MN, Matthew Smith, Alameda CA, and David Smith of San Francisco, CA; granddaughters: Kristen Collins of Toledo OH, Laurel Collins, Richfield, MN and Marisa Collins, Los Angeles, CA and four great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father and his beloved wife of 56 years, Enola.
Memorials are preferred to the ministries of First Presbyterian Church.