Hi, I am Rip Collins' daughter. 

 Dad broke his left hip in May and took three months to rehabilitate due to losing three days per week to dialysis.  Dad had been on dialysis since last summer.  His pre-op chest x-ray showed shadows in his right lung.  Doctors decided to pursue this  later and get him through his broken hip.

 In October, Dad had a PET scan to determine the extent of the lesions in his lungs.  He had smoked for 60+ years and quit smoking about 10 years ago.  He did, in fact, have cancer.  Dad and I spoke about what to do next.  He said he would not have chemo or radiation, but would like an idea of how long he had left.  My step-sis and my daughter Heather, who is a college student in northern Kentucky, took Dad and my step-mom, Annabelle, to the oncologist.  The doctor told Dad he wasn't going to even do a needle biopsy as he could collapse Dad's lung and cause even more problems for him.  He said he would go out on a limb and tell Dad he had probably two good years left before the lesions would cause him any problems.  Daddy and Annabelle left the doctors office very happy.  The very next day, Daddy had a really rough dialysis and lost consciousness.  He was brought back around, but then said, "No more needles."  Even though I had not wanted him to start dialysis in the first place, I did call him (I live 5 hours away) and make sure he understood what stopping the dialysis would mean.  Dad was sure he still had one good kidney, which he did not.  Since his aneurysm in 1994, his memory was not so good.  He had lost the function of one kidney following the aneurysm, and the last one quit functioning last year.  He said if that was true as I reminded him, he'd just have to die on his own terms then.  Daddy died three weeks to the day of his final dialysis with my daughter, Heather, holding his hand and me touching his arm.  The hospice chaplain was there with us and was reciting the 23rd Psalm.  Dad stopped breathing when the chaplain said, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death." 

Daddy loved the military and loved to fly.  He didn't care much for his final aircraft, the C-123, but he loved the C-119 and his time at Clinton County AFB, OH.  Daddy was a veteran of WWII in the Army, Army Air Corps, Air Force, and Air Force Reserves.  He flew C-46, C-47, C-119, and C-123 aircraft in his career and was stationed in TX, OH, ND NC, England, France, and the Canal Zone. 

Daddy was pre-deceased by his wife, Helen Hamilton Collins; and a son, William B. Collins, III.  He leaves his second wife, Annabelle Collins; a daughter, Lt Col Wendy S. Collins, USAF Nurse Corps (Ret); a step-daughter, Pamela Sigler and her husband, David; and four grandchildren, Heather Hamilton Collins, Hallie Olivia Collins, and Daniel and Camille Sigler.

Lt Col William B. "Rip" Collins, Jr

21 Feb 22 - 20 Nov 08

If anyone has an anecdote about my Daddy, I would appreciate hearing from them.  My address is: 2002 Larkspur Drive, Murray, KY  42071

Also, if anyone knows the name of the fellow who used to play the bagpipes while walking around the Clinton County AFB flight line in the evenings, please let me know.  I have fond memories of listening to those bagpipes when I was a "wee little lassie".

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