NORTHPORT – Richard R. ‘Dick’ Collins of Northport, passed away July 7th, 2014. A former President of the American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) and ardent supporter of the University of Maine, Collins was 77. Born and raised on his family’s potato farm in St. Agatha, Maine, Collins spoke only French for the first 13 years of his life until he was sent to boarding school.
At the University of Maine, he was class president his senior year in 1959, and captain of the men’s basketball team, earning the nickname “Rooster” for the cowlick that prominently rose on his head as he ran up and down the court. It was at the University where he met the love of his life, Anne Adams, whom he married in 1961. After graduating with a degree in business and economics, Collins went to work for the Traveler’s Insurance Company, and eventually joined American International Group (AIG), where he worked for 26 years, overseeing the company’s operations in Bermuda, Lebanon, Iran and Japan. Posted in Iran during the 1979 revolution, Collins was accused of being an American spy and placed under house arrest, but was eventually allowed to leave the country after local colleagues successfully petitioned the new government on his behalf. Collins returned to the United States in 1980 to become President of ALICO, an AIG subsidiary based in Wilmington, Delaware. During his 12-year tenure leading ALICO, the company’s earnings and revenues more than tripled. Following his retirement in 1992, Collins split his time between homes in Key Largo, Florida and Northport, Maine.
A life-long supporter of the University of Maine, Collins served on many alumni boards and committees, chaired the University of Maine Foundation Board and was a member of the President’s Development Council. He and his wife Anne were generous supporters of efforts to revitalize the Orono campus, including renovations to Memorial Gym and the Maine Center for the Arts, which was renamed the Richard R. and Anne A. Collins Center for the Arts. In 2007, he and Anne received the Stillwater Presidential Award for their support and dedication to the University.
Collins was predeceased by his parents, Gladys (Michaud) and Raoul Collin, his brother, Patrick and many dear friends. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Anne (Adams); daughter, Pamela Stead (Kevin) of Metuchen, New Jersey; daughter, Jennifer Collins (Robert Hussey) of Edina, Minnesota; grandchildren, Conor Hussey, Megan Hussey, Lily Stead and Keira Stead; sisters, Phyllis Paradis (Roland), Marilyn Kenyon (Gordon) and Rachel Collin (Mark Suffron); and brother, Philip Collins (Marge).
Visiting hours will be held from 4-7 p.m. Friday July 11, 2014 at Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., Belfast, Maine. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 12, 2014 at Grove Cemetery, Belmont Ave., Belfast, Maine. A reception will follow at University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Waldo County Home Health and Hospice.