CANISTEO: Dr. A. Byron Collins, MD, 85 of Cunningham Creek, passed away peacefully Friday evening (June 7, 2019) at his home surrounded by the love and care of his family, after a brief illness.
Byron Collins MD, was born on September 10, 1933 to the late Clara (Saterlee) and Albert Byron Collins in Olean, New York. He is predeceased by his son Chip Collins. He is survived by his wife Rae Collins, brother Patsy (Marlene) Collins of Allegany NY, sister Rosie (Tom) O’Grady of Wellsville NY sons; Chris (Megan) Collins of Brewster, NY: Kevin (Melanie) Collins of Hornell, NY; Dr. Craig (Noelle) Collins of Victor, NY; daughters Karen M. Collins, Esq., Kathleen Collins, and Kimberly (Mike) Robinson, all of Florida; Colleen (Jay) Ewanich of Pleasanton, Ca. and Kirstin (John) Coppola of Mt. Pleasant, SC. He is survived by 20 grandchildren and special nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his beloved companion Mona Harder.
Dr. Collins was a prominent surgeon and practiced medicine in Canisteo and Hornell area for over 50 years. He came to Canisteo straight from his surgical residency in Buffalo, NY for a one year temporary fill in for Dr. Leon Roe and never left. He fell in love with the people and the area. He bought Dr. Roe’s country home and farm and started ABC Ranch where he raised prized Herefords. It wasn’t an unusual sight to see him come into the emergency room with his cowboy hat and boots on. He dedicated his life to Bethesda and St James Hospital and worked tirelessly for their survival. He held Chief of Surgery positions at both hospitals over the years. He also was the Steuben County Coroner for many years. He operated and practiced medicine and ran the farm up until his recent illness. Sixteen hour days were the norm as were middle of the night calls. Over the years he treated multiple generations of the same family. Dr. Collins always had a smile and a kind word, a quick story or sarcastic comment and sometimes a good joke.
He spent many years enjoying his cottage on Keuka Lake, where he would ski his kids from one end to the other. In later years he enjoyed his home in Nova Scotia. He took his mother to visit Ireland to her family’s homeland, and traveled on safari to Africa and spent holidays in Italy, Israel and the Caribbean. Dr. Collins was an avid big game hunter years ago and filled his trophy room full with his prized game. He also loved deer hunting on ABC Ranch. His hidden talent was cooking. He made Oyster Stew and Shrimp Scampi every Christmas Eve. Loved making pancake and sausage breakfasts for his family when they were all home. And his ABC Ranch grilled steaks and hamburgers were the best.
He took pride in raising his nine children. With his busy schedule, he always found the time for each one of them and was very proud of their accomplishments. He was a great Dad who encouraged and supported his children in all their endeavors. He was especially thrilled when Kevin returned home to create Cider Creek. He loved being a part of it. He enjoyed traveling to each of his children’s homes around the country. His children will treasure his wisdom, guidance, humility, kindness and love and will miss him dearly. He was known as “Papa Doc” to his grandchildren who have many wonderful memories of him.
Returning home each night he loved being greeted by his various Rottweilers and Dobermans over the years. Hana will truly miss greeting him. He liked to end his busy day with one Black Velvet Manhattan on the rocks. So we raise this Manhattan and toast this kind and giving man that has touched so many lives. Cheers to you Doc. We have all been blessed with your presence. May our Lord hold you close on your journey.
The family will receive friends from 5-8 PM, Thursday and noon-2 and 5-8 PM Friday at the H.P. Smith & Son, Inc. Funeral Home, 29 East Main St., in Canisteo. A Mass and Christian burial will take place Saturday (June 15, 2019) at 10 AM at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Erie Ave, Hornell, N.Y.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Care First, 3805 Meads Creek Rd., Painted Post, N.Y. 14870.
Online condolences and memories may be shared at hpsmithandsonfuneralhome.com.