Stephen Francis Collins Jr. was born in 1946, in Providence, RI, and passed away unexpectedly on April 4, 2023, at his home in Woodland, CA. He was predeceased by his wife, Janet, and his parents and survived by his two stepchildren, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, four grandchildren, and three beloved nieces.
Steve spent his childhood in Taunton, MA, and relocated to California in his teens where he graduated with the 1965 Class of Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks. After a short stint at American River College, he served in the U.S. Air Force during the war in Vietnam, rising to the rank of sergeant before completing his service in the Air Force Reserves. In the late 1970s, he moved to Davis, married Janet, and helped her raise her two children. They enjoyed 43 years of marriage cut short by her passing earlier this year.
An entrepreneur at heart, Steve was often self-employed, including running a Sacramento dental laboratory in the 1970s and a Woodland awning business in the 1980s and early 1990s. His iconic awning designs can still be seen locally, such as on the Tower Café in Sacramento. Over the years, he worked in a variety of construction management positions utilizing his design and artistic skills. He was a skilled craftsman who was generous with his talents, often helping friends and family with home improvement projects. After retirement, he pursued a number of creative interests, including painting and photography. He won multiple Yolo County Fair awards for his photography and the Davis Pence Gallery’s 2021 Curator’s Award for his painting.
He was committed to his family; as one of his nieces wrote, “he stepped up as a ‘father figure’ to us girls promising to always be there should we need him – and he was.” Those close to him remember him as helpful, creative, kind, open-minded, tolerant, deep feeling, and always shadowed by a beloved dog sidekick.