The Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club of Boston

A Tribute to Ken Collins


Kenneth F. Collins

Kenneth F. Collins passed away at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital Jan. 19, 2011, at the age of 66. Born in Boston, he had lived in Abington many years. Ken was a friend of Bill W. He enjoyed gardening, reading, the Red Sox and was a member of the Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club. Beloved husband of Mary K. (Donovan) Collins, he was the father of Amy Anderson of Waltham and Cheryl Persichetti married to Nathan of Chemlsford; dear friend of Maryellen Flaherty of Abington and her children, P.J., Molly and Kerry Flaherty. Funeral service in the South Weymouth McDonald Funeral Home, 809 Main St. (Rte. 18 opposite South Shore Hospital), Monday at 11 Oclock. Relatives and friends invited.

Memories from SHPC

Dock Perry

Ken was fond of saying that he was born to be a pipe smoker. His grandfather who he once described to me as 'one mean son of a bitch' was also a pipe smoker. When Kenny was very young he caught him playing with his pipes and grabbed him tightly and screamed at him to put them down and that he would never, ever become a smoker like him. Ken told me that at the very instant he knew that he eventually would.

Ken was a real rennaisaance man. He was a HUGE fan of Jazz and of cooking especially his famous gourmet cheese cakes. While not fluent in French, he could speak a whole lot of it and well. He was a constant reader of everything and a true to life registered socialist. He was about as generous of a man as you will ever meet. He would send tobacco free of charge to seemingley every new member on his favorite pipe forum "The Brothers of Briar" as well as members who were down on their luck. Ken embodied the spirit of a pipe smoker in every way. He was a cliche for everything one should be.

On top of this and as a recovering alcoholic, he was a sposor to countless folks batttling an addiction problem. Ken WAS that 3:00 am phone call from someone who was on the verge of giving into their addictions and he would try his very best to talk them down off the ledge. He would usually be successful. I own his 20 year sober coin from Alcaholics Anonoymous. It's one of, if not my most prized possesion. Ken just gave and gave. It's just who he was.

I called him "Dad" and he called me "Son" and I loved him deeply. I'm a better man for having known him and his absense will leave a hole in my heart that won't soon be healed...

Neil Morris

I met Ken Collins at my first SHPC meeting in April 2009. I remember walking into the room and seeing all these guys with pipes and thought: "Am I dreaming? All these guys are pipe smokers?" I immediately spotted Ken and naturally gravitated toward him; with his long beard and Holmsian pipe, he struck me as the quintessential pipe smoker, contemplating the universe and wise beyond his years. Sometimes first impressions are true and in this case it certainly was. This was the beginning of a great friendship. He knew so much about the pipe and I felt such the novice. But he was always patient with my questions and never made me feel that I wasn't his peer. And he had wisdom that stretched far beyond pipe smoking. I realized this was a man who had been through many difficult times and, through courage and determination, had landed on a safer shore. If I was troubled by something he would listen very closely and then - often with one word or one sentence - he would help me see things more clearly.

I will always be grateful that I had the opportunity to meet Ken and call him my friend. I light my pipe to you, Ken! I'll miss you. PACEM EN PUFFING...

Tim Hynick

As I write this, I can picture Ken sitting at the club with his friendly face and full beard puffing away on one of his favorite pipes. I enjoyed Ken’s presence at the club immensely. He was an extraordinary gentleman who always made you feel welcome in the conversation. Ken was extremely knowledgeable about pipes and I learned much from him. I especially enjoyed when we poked fun at all the outrageous high priced pipes on the market. One of my best memories of Ken was when he asked me to make a pipe for him to celebrate his attainment of an important goal in his life. I was deeply honored and humbled by this request. All throughout the process, I thought about how much discipline and fortitude it took for him to accomplish his goal. I was so proud of his accomplishment. This may speak to what kind of person Ken was as I know he had to deal with difficult things in his life such as his health problems. I will miss Ken very much. I will always be saddened at his absence.

Tom Milano

There are folks who think the notion of a "pipe club" is sort of absurd, but one of the best reasons to partake in such a club is for the opportunity to meet very nice people like Ken. I will miss him.

Merrick Sokol

Over the last five years of club membership, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Ken about pipes and tobaccos, of which he generously shared with me. I will remember him as a true gentleman and Brother of the Pipe.

Mike Cowan

My heartfelt prayers go out to his wife and family. I was lucky to have Ken in my pipe club, and being somewhat of a newbie I definitely benefitted from his sage wisdom. I probably have too much "Italian wood" and not enough "Bosun Cut Plug" because of him. He was a great man. May his wife and family find comfort in the countless lives he touched.

Memories from the Brothers of Briar

Here are a few responses from his friends at the Brothers of Briar message board when they heard the news:

Mike: I don't know how to say how sad I am to hear this. Ken is a true gentleman and one of the finest here at BoB. His presence here has been sorely missed the past few weeks. Dock, my sincere sympathies and prayers for Ken and his family, and for yourself as I know you and he have been close. Thank you for passing on the news.

Jack Straw: That's very sad to hear. I was just drying out some Bosun Cut Plug to smoke, too sad.
I will smoke this one for you, Ken.

shadrack: That's some sad news. Ken was a favorite of mine around here. Going to go smoke some GH in his honor.

Chevy 5759: Ken and his family will certainly be in my prayers. I am very sorry to hear this. Ken was my mentor on many of my Lakeland trials and always responded to any questions that I had for him. I will remember him.
I didn't bring Bosun Cut Plug today but will have a bowl tonight in his honor.

puros_bran: Chevy I think he was everyones Mentor...

He has gifted most of us.. Not only with tobacco and such but with something more important his love of the pipe, the knowledge he has gathered over the many years of puffing, and life wisdom..

I've never met the man, I wanted to it just never worked out, but I've been (edit in: a lot of us have) talking to him for 5 or 6 years..

Back on the old Knox board he posted a lot more than he has the past year or so.. Quick,cutting wit.. Not the kind that hurt, the kind you couldn't help but grin about..

He is one of the unspoken giants of the pipe world. And I feel like a better person for having been blessed by getting to talk to him.

I hope beyond hope he rebounds and comes back and fusses at us for making deal.. Lol.. Anyone ever received a package from him warning you to not make a fuss about it? Lol I think we all have..
If not I hope the good Lord takes him in peace and grants a measure of strenth to Mrs Collins.. Our loss will be nothing compared to hers.

Natch: Very sad to hear. But he lived a long (and by his own admission, rather rough) life and turned it around in time to earn the love and respect of all of us here and those that know him. A small bit of his wisdom (and gifts) will remain in the tobaccos I smoke daily.
(Natch... he talked a lot about you when we visited him in the rehab.)

happypipster: Wow.. I'm really not sure of what to say.. I never got a chance to say much to Ken, but always loved reading his posts.. it was pretty obvious right away he was a very special guy, and meant a lot to many people on BoB.. may everything go as peacefully as possible for him, and for his family.

jhuggett: Ken exemplifies brotherhood and is a true inspiration for many of us. He was one of the first people that showed me that an online community of fellow pipe smokers can be much more than just another internet forum. That true friendships can be forged without ever having met. I feel very lucky for having him with us over the years.

Vito: Ken is one of the mainstays who came here (with many of the rest of us) from the old Knoxville Cigar BB. The man has a huge heart, and to my knowledge he has never spoken an unkind word to anyone. I feel a sense of personal loss and sadness in the anticipation that he won't be around. My very best thoughts and wishes go out to him, his family, and all of the brethren here who have come to know Ken as a friend.

Puff Daddy: Tried three times to write something here but nothing I can say honors the gentleman enough. The consensus of sentiment here on the board sums up as well as anything what a great guy Ken was and what he meant to us here. I raise my glass to you Ken, you're in my prayers, and I thank you for honoring us with your presence here. Too many good men going lately.......

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