In Memoriam: Clayton W. Collins, Jr.


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of retiree Clayton W. Collins, Jr. on August 23, at Falmouth Hospital. He was 87.

Clayton was born in Houston, Texas, son of Clayton W. Collins, Sr., a ship's captain in the merchant marine. He was brought back home to Falmouth at the age of two months, where he grew up, was educated in Falmouth schools, and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1940. He enlisted in the United States Coast Guard in 1941, was trained in radio operator's school and soon afterwards in the U.S. Navy Radio Technician School in Anacostia D.C. He sailed on a major cutter, performing convoy duties in the North Atlantic through World War II, rising to chief radioman. He stayed with the service after the war, retiring in 1964, as a lt. commander. He and his family returned and settled in Falmouth. Clayton and Nancy Haskins were married for 65 years.

Clayton began his career at WHOI in 1964 as a research assistant in the Oceanography and Meteorology Department.  In 1966 he transferred to the Applied Oceanography Department. In 1967 he transferred to the Ocean Engineering Department.  In 1970 he was promoted to a research associate.  He retired in 1984 but continued working on a casual basis up until 1992. While at WHOI, Clayton sailed on 35 scientific voyages, working on electronics.

Clayton is a descendent of John Collins and Rebecca Doane of Eastham, whose parents founded that town in 1647.

He was a member of James B. Barnes Lodge No. 10, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Marine Lodge, A.F. & A.M., and The Sons of the American Revolution. He was a member of The First Congregational Church of Falmouth since 1938, having held several offices there. Serving on the Town Finance Committee, he was also a 22-year town meeting member. Clayton was a former Trustee and a 20-year member of the Falmouth Hospital Association. He was also a member of The Falmouth Historical Society.

Clayton enjoyed camping and boating with his family. He also enjoyed reading, photography, and gardening.

Clayton is survived by his wife Nancy (Haskins) Collins and his four daughters: Cynthia Lach, of Brewster, MA; Deborah Witter, of Falmouth, MA; Barbara Jean Rabesa, of Exeter, NH; and Margaret Elizabeth Sabens, of Woods Hole, MA. He also leaves ten grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.

Visiting hours will be Wednesday, August 26, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Chapman Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 475 Main St, Falmouth, Center. A service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 27, in the First Congregational Church, 68 Main Street, Falmouth, MA. A private burial will take place at the North Falmouth Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Congregational Church.

Some of the information for this obituary was taken from the Falmouth Enterprise.


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