Mark Craig Collins, 52, of Broadus died Thursday, April 3, 2014, at his home in Broadus after a courageous battle with cancer with his family by his side.
Mr. Collins was born Nov. 18, 1961, in Miles City to Larry and Sharon Hagadone Collins. He grew up on the family ranch and attended grade and high school in Broadus, graduating in 1980.
Following graduation, he and his friend, Jim Taylor, went to Washington State and California “Looking for Work.” They did not find work, but had a great experience and returned to Montana. Mr. Collins then found work for a short time with a construction company in Gillette, Wyo.
He found a better paying job with a “Work over Rig” and worked there until winter, when he came back to the ranch. In the spring of 1981 he wanted to try “fishing in Alaska.” He went to Seattle, Wash., where he went on the piers talking to the fishermen and trying to find a job. Mr. Collins‘ persistence paid off and he found a guy willing to take him on. Mr. Collins flew to Dillingham, Alaska, then took a charter taxi to Clark’s Point, Alaska, in the Bristol Bay area, where he met up with his boss and 18-foot fishing boat with a cabin. One of Mr. Collins’ duties was cooking, which lasted a few weeks and the two parted ways. The Clark brothers (Clark’s Point — named for the family) had a little bigger boat and took Mr. Collins in to finish out the season fishing for halibut and salmon. He returned to the ranch in late August of 1981.
Mr. Collins complained of back pain and after months of trying to find the cause, he was diagnosed with a spinal tumor. He had surgery and radiation and had a good recovery. Mr. Collins went to college for a few months and was planning to go into Law Enforcement when a reoccurrence of cancer changed the plans. This time it was a brain tumor. He had more radiation, and a strong dose of chemotherapy. It helped for 32 years, until a new tumor developed last fall.
Mr. Collins enjoyed travel and seeing new country. In spring of 1983, he went with two friends to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, La. He later went on several trips with his parents to Georgia to visit Kurt and family. He was able to go to Branson, Mo., and on two cruises to Alaska and to the Panama Canal. Mr. Collins loved the ranch and made the best of his lot. He liked sitting on the deck in the sunshine, petting his dogs and just looking at the scenery.
When the weather kept him inside he liked to watch “Walker Texas Ranger” on television and play games on the Wii. He had “pro” status in golf and bowling.
His “Big Event “each year was his Birthday Poker Party. He was frequently at the pay window. He loved having a host of friends come and visit, as well as play. He was a hard worker and loved to do what he could to help wherever he could.
Mr. Collins kept the lawn cut with the riding mower. He liked moving cattle on his 4-wheeler and especially loved helping his friend, Tom Riggs, work cattle. Mr. Collins and his two dogs on the 4-wheeler were a familiar sight as they checked the water pipeline daily. He was very proud of his brother, Kurt, wife, Julie, and their girls, Madison and Sage. Mr. Collins got a lot of enjoyment going to the school events to watch the girls.
Mr. Collins is survived by his parents, Larry and Sharon Collins of the family ranch; his brother, Kurt, wife, Julie (Maner) Collins, and nieces, Madison and Sage Collins, all of Broadus; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Visitation will be Thursday, April 10, 2014, at Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home in Broadus with family receiving friends from 4 to 6 p.m. Funeral services will be Friday, April 11, 2014, at 11 a.m. in the Faith Bible Church in Broadus. Interment will be at a later date.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com.
Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the Broadus Cancer Fund, P.O. Box 629, Broadus, MT 59317.