Cover photo for Steven John Collins's Obituary
Steven John Collins Profile Photo

Steven John Collins

May 7, 1947 — July 20, 2023

Kaukauna

Steven John Collins

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Steve was welcomed into the arms of the Lord and taken into heaven on July 20, 2023.  Though his three-month struggle with liver cancer was brief, it was a testament to his faith. Steve was born to Eleanore (Marx) and Russell Collins, on May 7, 1947, in Appleton, WI. He was baptized on May 25, 1947, and then attended St. Joseph Catholic school. He graduated from Xavier High School with the class of 1966. He was drafted into the Army and proudly served from 1967 to 1969.

He married Frances Heinritz on April 8, 1972, and they were married for 29 years. They had two daughters, Kareena and Andrea who adored their dad. The family lived near Sherwood until 1985 where they tended to 32-acres of land growing a multitude of fruits and vegetables they would sell at their farm stand. In 1986, Steve and his family moved from Appleton to California where he expanded his proficiency at several different jobs. During his lifetime, Steve worked for the Appleton school system, sales, and a fertilizer company in California, was a cemetery grounds keeper, a locksmith, and sold satellite TV, just to name a few. Steve remained an avid Wisconsin sports fan, even from California – cheering on the Packers, Badgers, Bucks, and Brewers every season! Steve enjoyed road trips with the family, which included stopping at every historical marker to read every word to the chagrin of his daughters. They did love his sense of wonder and adventure, while learning from their dad.

Steve eventually returned to Appleton, and his daughters grew up to start their own lives. Throughout his life, Steve spent many hours gardening, tending to the birds, and putzing in the garage and yard. He became a grandpa to Ethan and Hailey, which was a role he loved, and he passed down his “little known facts” to his grandkids any chance he could get. In many ways Steve was a “Big Kid” and now he had kids he could play with. They could go to the park, garden together, and play games. Steve loved to tell them stories and make them laugh. He enjoyed his grandchildren.

One day in early May 2010, Steve met Liana Keel at a restaurant for breakfast. He brought along a plant.  He later told her, “I was going to see if you could keep it alive.” Steve had a wonderful “green thumb,” but she did not. The plant died. Steve married her anyway on September 25, 2011. He gained her children and grandchildren. They traveled and often went to kids’ sports and school events. He continued to act like a kid loving his ice cream and occasionally taking a turn on the slip n slide.

Steve and Liana attended church together where he ushered on Monday nights. He also attended men’s group at St. Paul Lutheran where he made friendships. He was active in a Life group bible study with other couples which he thoroughly enjoyed. He was an avid weekly men’s league bowler and kept the neatest yard on the block.

What was important to Steve was his 40 years of sobriety through his relationship with AA. He felt blessed that the Lord provided him with this fellowship. He was a mentor to many and he would like to thank all who supported him through his recovery. Anyone who knew Steve knew he had the “gift of gab.” Just when you thought you were going to walk away, he would tell you one more thing. Steve would say, “Keep it simple” and “Don’t quit before the miracle happens.” His miracle happened. He is with the Lord.

Steve was preceded in death by his mother, father and a brother, James Collins.  He is survived by his loving wife Liana, daughter Kareena (Nghia) Tran, daughter Andrea (Jeremy) Lewandoski, grandchildren Ethan and Hailey. He is further survived by stepson Jason (Julie) Sieg, grandson Jameson, stepdaughter Heather (Ben) Berger, grandchildren Eliana and Andrew as well as a brother, Richard (Deb) Collins and a very special friend and brother in heart, George Helton. We would like to thank Dr. Coenen and his nurse Missy, Dr. Winkler, Dr. Abbi, and Dr. Kroner. We appreciate all your kindness and efforts.

The Christian Funeral Services will be Friday August 4, 2023, at Mount Olive Evangelical Lutheran Church, located at 930 E. Florida Avenue in Appleton.  Visitation will take place at the church from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM with service to follow.  Military honors will follow the service.

How lucky I am to have something so special that makes saying goodbye so hard.       A.A. Milne 

Wait for me at the gate with roses. I love you.     Liana

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Past Services

Visitation

Friday, August 4, 2023

9:00 - 10:00 am (Central time)

Mount Olive Ev. Lutheran Church

930 E Florida Ave, Appleton, WI 54911

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Christian Funeral Service

Friday, August 4, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Mount Olive Ev. Lutheran Church

930 E Florida Ave, Appleton, WI 54911

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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