BEN RUFFIN COLLIEBen Ruffin Collie began his eternal walk with our Heavenly Father on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 after a courageous battle with cancer. His family was by his side at the Solvay Hospice House in Duluth.
On Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, after a courageous battle with cancer, beloved husband, father, brother, Pa Pa, and friend, Ben Ruffin Collie began his eternal walk with our Heavenly Father. His family was by his side at the Solvay Hospice House in Duluth.
He was born to Edna Mae and Van Buren Collie on April 2, 1933 in Nash County N.C.
Ben spent several of his early years with his half-brother Harvey and half-sister Mary on a small tobacco farm. He left the farm at a young age and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served in the Korean War. For his dedicated service to the Corps, Collie received the Good Conduct Medal as well as the Purple Heart for being wounded in combat.
At the conclusion of his honorable service to our country, Ben returned to the states relocating here in Northern Minnesota. He then studied to become an electrician and worked to learn his trade. Over the next 50 years Ben worked at building relationships with tradesmen, contractors, architectural engineers and clients. These efforts proved effective in the development of the successful contracting firm of Nelson-Collie Electric.
On Dec. 1, 1956 Ben married the love of his life, Joan Nelson. The couple made their home in Virginia, Minn., and together raised three sons and a daughter.
Ben was an active member of the VFW, the Legion as well as the Elks Club where he served as Exalted Ruler in 1976.
In 1985 Ben and Joan relocated to Isle of Pine on beautiful Lake Vermilion. There Ben spent more than 20 years enjoying boating and snowmobiling (wearing out many a machine). After retirement the couple enjoyed winters in Fort Meyers, Fla., where Ben became an avid and proficient golfer.
To know Ben was truly a great gift. His dedication to family, his commitment to success, his love of his country and his passion for life has taught us all many valuable lessons. His wit and sense of humor always kept us on our toes and the memory of his laughter will be carried with us all the days of our lives.
Ben was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Van, Wes and Harvey; and sisters Mary, Ellis and Delia.
Surviving are his devoted wife Joan; sons Douglas (Rose) of Colorado Springs, Colo., Steven of Virginia and Jeffery (Kerry) of Virginia; daughter Elizabeth (John) Parker of Duluth; grandchildren Lauren and Sarah Collie of Colorado Springs, Colo., Jacob Parker of Duluth and Mason and Kendall Collie of Virginia; as well as his sisters Doris Osborne, Myrtle Harper and Jane Fielek and many nieces and nephews.
A scholarship fund is being established in support of the "Ben Collie Foundation". The foundation will support young trades people who are in need of education expense assistance in the Virginia area. The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the foundation.
SERVICE: 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 in Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Virginia with Pastor Nathan Sager officiating. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service in the church. Burial, with Military rites accorded by the Virginia Servicemen's Honor Guard, will be at the Veteran's Section of Greenwood Cemetery in Virginia. Lunch will follow the funeral service in the Virginia Elk's Lodge, 220 North Fifth Avenue, Virginia. Arrangements are with the Landmark Funeral Home of Virginia.