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W. Ernest Collins, Jr.
In Memory of

W. Ernest Collins, Jr.

1942 - 2018

Obituary of W. Ernest Collins, Jr.

W. Ernest Collins, Jr. age 76, died peacefully on June 24, 2018. He went out on a high note, collapsing suddenly on June 20 as he finished his morning swim and never regaining consciousness. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Mary Lynn Collins; their son, Chad (Heather) Collins; their daughter, Camille (David) Collins Dean; and grandchildren Hadley, Jack, and Leah Collins and Mia Dean, who knew him affectionately as “E.”

Ernest was born in Lebanon, KY on February 18, 1942, to Ernest and Ida Belle Collins. He is survived by his siblings, Josephine Weber, Mary Brown, Gary Collins, and Brad (Joan) Collins, mother-in-law Tibby Adams and sisters-in-law Sherrie (Warner) Webb and Anne (Don) Chesnut.


After graduating from Lebanon High School, Ernest attended Western Kentucky University, where he studied chemistry and biology and earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees. He taught biology at Sue Bennett College in London, KY, where he met Mary Lynn, before accepting a position as a chemist for the Department of Agriculture in Frankfort in 1971, from which he retired in 2008.


Ernest loved photography, science, movies, music, history, and his family. He combined all of these into one spectacular adventure to Western Kentucky to view the rare total solar eclipse in August 2017. He leaves a rich photographic legacy of this event and so many others, and will be greatly missed. He was the family’s memory keeper. 


A celebration of Ernest’s life will be held this Thursday, June 28, at Highland Christian Church, 265 Versailles Rd, Frankfort, Ky. Visitation will be 10 am to 12 noon with the memorial service immediately following. There will be a reception in the fellowship hall after the service.


In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Kentucky Historical Society or the Western Kentucky University Foundation-Chemistry/Biology Departments at